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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 23, 2018

Dona Ana County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charges

Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood

ALBUQUERQUE – Juan Martin Rosales, 49, of Chaparral, N.M., pled guilty today in Las Cruces, N.M., federal court to child pornography charges, announced U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Acting Special Agent in Charge Jack P. Staton of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Sheriff Enrique Vigil of the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Patrick Gallagher of the Las Cruces Police Department, and Sheriff Benny House of the Otero County Sheriff’s Office.

Rosales was charged by criminal complaint filed in Oct. 2017, with child exploitation and child pornography offenses.  The complaint alleged that Rosales sexually exploited children and received and possessed child pornography from Oct. 2015 through Oct 16, 2017, in Dona Ana County, N.M.  According to the complaint, the investigation into Rosales was initiated in April 2017, when Rosales’ neighbors reported to the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office that Rosales possessed a tablet computer containing child pornography.  The complaint also alleged that Rosales used a cellular phone to take photographs of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  During the execution of a search warrant on Oct. 16, 2017, law enforcement agents recovered numerous SD cards, cellular phones, a tablet computer and other electronic devices from Rosales’ home. 

Rosales was indicted on Jan. 17, 2018, and was charged with 15 counts of producing child pornography and three counts of possessing child pornography.  The indictment charged Rosales with producing child pornography four times on Sept 28, 2016, and 11 times on Sept. 30, 2016.  It also charged Rosales with possessing child pornography on two micro SD cards and a smartphone on Oct. 16, 2017.  According to the indictment, Rosales committed the crimes in Otero County, N.M.

 During today’s proceedings, Rosales pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement.

At sentencing, Rosales faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.  He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations, the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office, Las Cruces Police Department, and the Otero County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander B. 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/.  Individuals with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse are encouraged to contact the Children’s Advocacy Center tipline at (575) 526-3437.

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 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 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated April 23, 2018