Deming Man Pleads Guilty to Production of Child Pornography Charges
Plea Agreement Requires Prison Sentence within the Range of 20 to 45 Years; Prosecution Brought Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Robert Steven Elliott, II, 32, of Deming, N.M., entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to production of child pornography charges. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Elliott will be sentenced to a prison term within the range of 20 to 45 years followed by a lifetime of supervised release. The plea agreement also indicates that Elliott has agreed to pay $210,012 in restitution to the child he victimized through his criminal conduct. Elliott will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.
Elliott’s guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Tex., Luna County Sheriff John Mooradian, and Chief Jaime Montoya of the Las Cruces Police Department.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez commended the efforts of the officers involved in the investigation, “This joint federal, state and local investigation demonstrates the resolve of the law enforcement community to work together to bring those who victimize children to justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to work side-by-side with officers who are devoted to protecting our children from predators.”
“Sex crimes against children are among the most heinous crimes HSI special agents investigate,” said Waldemar Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI El Paso. “And we will not relent in our pursuit to catch these malicious predators who traumatize children, leaving them emotionally and physically scarred for life.”
“This is another wonderful example of multiple law enforcement agencies working together to uncover evidence that helped build a strong case,” said Chief Jaime Montoya of the Las Cruces Police Department.
Elliott was arrested on Oct. 30, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with producing and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in Luna County, N.M. The investigation into Elliott began on Oct. 30, 2015, when a woman reported to law enforcement authorities that she had discovered child pornography images on a cellphone belonging to Elliott and surrendered the cellphone to the authorities. After obtaining a federal search warrant for the cellphone, law enforcement officers found that the cellphone contained multiple images of child pornography, including images of a child under the age of 12.
Elliott was indicted on Jan. 20, 2016, and charged with six counts of production of child pornography. The indictment charged Elliott with producing child pornography on Nov. 23, 2014 and Sept. 28, 2015 in Luna County. Today Elliott pled guilty to two of the six counts of the indictment, and Elliott admitted using his cellphone on Nov. 23, 2014 and Sept. 28, 2015, to take a pornographic visual image of a child whom he knew to be under 12 years of age.
Elliott has been in federal custody since his arrest. He remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Deming and Las Cruces offices of Homeland Security Investigations, the Luna County Sheriff’s Office, the Las Cruces Police Department, the El Paso Police Department, and the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Shapiro 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 more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The case also was brought as a part of the New Mexico 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 82 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 Office of the Attorney General. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.