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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 27, 2016

Former Las Cruces Middle School Basketball Coach Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison Followed by Lifetime of Supervised Release for Conviction on Federal Child Pornography Charges

Erik Bilal Khan Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood

ALBUQUERQUE – Erik Bilal Khan, 36, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon in federal court to 20 years of imprisonment to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release for his conviction on federal child pornography charges.  The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Chief Jaime Montoya of the Las Cruces Police Department.

Khan also was ordered to pay $12,000 in restitution to the victims of his criminal conduct, and was ordered to forfeit 66 computers, computer-related media, cellular telephones, cameras, and other electronic media seized from his residence during the investigation of the case.  Khan will be required to register as a sex offender when he completes his prison sentence. 

Khan pled guilty in Nov. 2013, to a four-count superseding indictment charging him with distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and attempted production of child pornography.  The guilty plea was entered under a plea agreement that permitted Khan to appeal from a court’s order denying Khan’s motion to suppress evidence seized from his residence pursuant to a search warrant.  Before his sentencing hearing today, Khan entered a new guilty plea to the four-count superseding indictment under an amended plea agreement that required Khan to waive his right to appeal any aspect of the case, including the order denying his motion to suppress evidence.

Khan was employed as a volunteer basketball coach at a Las Cruces middle school when he was arrested on child pornography charges in May 2012, after law enforcement officers executed a state district court search warrant at Khan’s residence and seized computer and computer-related media from Khan’s bedroom that contained images and videos of child pornography.  In Nov. 2012, Khan was federally indicted and charged with distributing, receiving and possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  A superseding indictment filed in July 2013, added an attempted production of child pornography charge.

In his amended plea agreement, Khan admitted that from May 2009 to May 2012, he knowingly distributed images and videos of child pornography images.  He also admitted knowingly receiving images and videos of child pornography from March 2008 to May 2012.  Khan further acknowledged that he knowingly possessed child pornography between July 2008 and May 2012.  Finally, Khan admitted that from Sept. 2009 to May 2010, he attempted to persuade a person he believed to be a minor male to produce child pornography for his (Khan’s) use.  Khan communicated with the person by email and sent him videos and images of child pornography to induce him to produce child pornography images of himself.  Khan committed these crimes in Dona Ana County, N.M.

The case against Kahn was investigated by HSI, the Las Cruces Police Department and the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Lizarraga of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

The case was brought 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 www.justice.gov/psc/.

The case also received support from the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, whose mission 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.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated June 27, 2016