Retired San Angelo Police Officer Sentenced to 35 years for Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material
A San Angelo man who used Snapchat to lure teenage girls into sexual encounters was sentenced to 33 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Esiah Cruz Castillo, 23, was indicted in October 2022. He pleaded guilty in December to enticement of minors and was sentenced on Thursday by U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who ordered the defendant be subject to 30 years of supervised release following his 30 year sentence.
“HSI will spare no resource in protecting children from sexual predators,” said Lester R. Hayes Jr., Special Agent in Charge HSI Dallas. “A deviant can no longer lurk behind social media applications seeking new victims once he is behind bars.”
In plea papers, Mr. Castillo admitted that he used Snapchat to connect with a 14-year-old child and convince her to sneak out of the house. He admitted that on Sept. 15, 2021, he took her to a remote storage facility, plied her with alcohol, and sexually assaulted her.
After the sexual assault, Homeland Security Investigations agents assumed the child’s identity on Snapchat and continued the correspondence with Mr. Castillo, who used the handle “Mik_Chap.” A few weeks later, Mr. Castillo once again urged the child to leave school and meet him at a gas station for sex, warning her that it might hurt. Agents, posing as the child, agreed. The arrested Mr. Castillo at the agreed-upon gas station.
En route to the processing facility, Mr. Castillo spontaneously stated that he was “really sorry.” He asked if “anyone was going to find out about this” and whether he could “delete” his social media. In an interview with law enforcement, he admitted to sexually assaulting at least four other children under the age of 15, including a 13-year-old. He stated he had sex with minor females because it was “easy.” Agents interviewed the children, who corroborated Mr. Castillo’s account.
At his sentencing hearing, prosecutors revealed that law enforcement had identified a total of seven minor victims.
Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Office and the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office in San Angelo conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Tusing prosecuted the case.