Las Cruces Man Arrested on Federal Child Pornography Charge
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Steven Vaillancourt, II, 45, of Las Cruces, N.M., made his initial appearance today in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with distribution of child pornography. Vaillancourt remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, which are scheduled for March 20, 2018.
The criminal complaint alleges that Vaillancourt distributed child pornography in March 2018, in Dona Ana County, N.M. According to the criminal complaint, Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant on an email account, which revealed that Vaillancourt had been communicating with a person with two minor children. Vaillancourt allegedly communicated with the individual about sharing and producing child pornography of the individual’s minor children. The complaint further alleges that Vaillancourt sent the individual three images of child pornography through text message on a cellular phone.
The statutory penalty for a conviction on a distribution of child pornography charge is a mandatory minimum of five years and maximum of 20 years of imprisonment. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations and the Las Cruces Police Department. 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 Children’s Advocacy Center at (575) 526-3437, or to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
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.