Man Indicted on Federal Charges for Aiming a Laser Pointer at Spokane County Sheriff’s Helicopter and Life Flight Helicopter
Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Eric J. Perez was sentenced today after having previously pleaded guilty in September, 2017, to Production of Child Pornography, Attempted Production of Child Pornography, Coercion and Enticement of a Minor to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity, Child Sex Trafficking, Attempted Child Sex Trafficking, and Possession of Child Pornography. United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. sentenced Perez to a twenty-five-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a life term of supervised release upon release from federal prison.
According to court records, Perez contacted eight girls, all between 12 and 16 years old, by Facebook message and coerced them to engage in sex and, in some cases, to produce pornographic images of themselves. He fathered two children with the ninth victim, of whom he also produced child pornography. Perez caused one victim, a thirteen-year-old, to engage in commercial sex with his stepbrother, Albert Castro, Jr., of Quincy, Washington. Castro was sentenced on December 1, 2017 to a seven-year term of imprisonment that criminal conduct. See 16-CR-0063-SMJ-2 (EDWA).
The two brothers’ crimes were discovered after a sister of one of the child-victims informed a school counselor that she was concerned about her sister’s Facebook contacts with Perez. The counselor immediately informed the Quincy, Washington Police Department. The Quincy Police Department, together with the FBI, discovered that Perez’s Facebook account contained multiple conversations between Perez and several young girls.
Joseph H. Harrington said, “This egregious case is another example of the superb work that can be accomplished when state and federal law enforcement officers work together. The impact of Perez’s crimes on his victims cannot be overstated. I commend the officers and agents for a job very well done.” Harrington went on to add, “The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute aggressively child pornography and child sex trafficking crimes that occur in the Eastern District of Washington.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
• Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
• Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
• Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
• Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
• Community awareness and educational programs.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.” The Quincy Washington Police Department and the FBI conducted the investigation of this matter. Scott T. Jones, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, prosecuted the case.