Former Bernalillo County Firefighter Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charges
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Patrick M. Lopez, 48, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to child pornography charges. The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.
Lopez was arrested in July 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At the time of his arrest, Lopez was employed as a paramedic/firefighter with the Bernalillo County Fire Department.
The charges against Lopez arose from an investigation by the FBI and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO). On July 10, 2015, the FBI and BCSO executed a federal search warrant at Lopez’s residence. During the search, forensic examiners found a laptop computer that contained videos consistent with child pornography.
During today’s proceedings, Lopez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of child pornography. According to the information, Lopez possessed the child pornography in Bernalillo County, N.M., between Jan. 19, 2015 and July 10, 2015.
At sentencing Lopez faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison followed by not less than five years of supervised release. Lopez will also be required to register as a sex offender. Lopez remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and BCSO, both members of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shammara H. Henderson 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.