Deming Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charge
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher Hernandez Meza, 35, of Deming, N.M., pled guilty this afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to distributing child pornography. Based on his guilty plea, Meza faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. He also will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.
Meza was arrested in May 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with possessing and distributing child pornography from March 2018 through April 2018, in Luna County, N.M. According to the criminal complaint, the investigation leading to Meza’s arrest was initiated in March 2018, after an FBI agent who was working in an undercover capacity in Oklahoma signed into a publicly available peer-to-peer file-sharing network that was being used by individuals who were sharing child pornography images and videos. The agent learned that an IP Address and email address subscribed to Meza were being used to share child pornography.
On May 3, 2018, the FBI executed a search warrant at Meza’s residence. While executing the search warrant, FBI agents seized a computer that contained more than a dozen video files and more than a hundred image files of child pornography.
During today’s proceedings, Meza pled guilty to a felony information charging him with distributing child pornography. In entering the guilty plea, Meza admitted that on March 27, 2018, he distributed child pornography by giving another person, who unbeknownst to Meza was an undercover law enforcement agent, access to a password protected online file folder, which contained numerous images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Meza has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
The case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI with assistance from the Deming Police Department and the Deming office of New Mexico State Probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. Individuals with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse are encouraged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.
The case also was brought as a part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 86 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.