Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Pornography Charges
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Steven Vaillancourt, II, 45, of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to distributing and possessing child pornography. As the result of his guilty plea, Vaillancourt faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment for distributing child pornography and a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment for possessing child pornography. Vaillancourt also will be required to register as a sex offender.
Vaillancourt was arrested on child pornography offenses in March 2018. According to the criminal complaint in which he was charged, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a search warrant on an email account, which revealed that Vaillancourt had been communicating with another individual about sharing and producing child pornography of that individual’s minor children. Vaillancourt also sent three child pornography images to the individual’s cellular phone through text messaging.
Vaillancourt was indicted on July 18, 2018. The indictment charged Vaillancourt with two counts of distributing child pornography and three counts of possessing child pornography. According to the indictment, Vaillancourt committed the offenses in March 2018 in Dona Ana County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Vaillancourt pled guilty to one count of distributing child pornography and three counts of possessing child pornography. In entering the guilty plea, Vaillancourt admitted sending two images of child pornography to another person on March 12, 2018. Vaillancourt also admitted that law enforcement officers who executed a search warrant at his residence on March 13, 2018, found three hard drives that contained an aggregate of 6,431 images and 90 videos of child pornography.
Vaillancourt has been in custody since his arrest and will remain in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of HSI and the Las Cruces Police Department with assistance from the National Recognizance Office, Office of Inspector General. 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.