Rio Rancho Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Sexual Exploitation Charge
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Joe Medina, 37, of Rio Rancho, N.M., pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to enticing a child to travel in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Medina will be sentenced to eight years in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release.
Medina was arrested in Indianapolis, Ind., on July 20, 2015, on a federal arrest warrant issued on a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The criminal complaint charged Medina with kidnapping and transporting a minor in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.
According to the criminal complaint, on July 9, 2015, the victim’s mother filed a missing person’s report to the Rio Rancho Police Department (RRPD) asserting that the victim was missing. According to the complaint, after the mother learned that Medina and the victim had been communicating with each other, the victim terminated communications with Medina. The mother reported that on July 7, 2015, Medina called the victim and threatened to kidnap her and kill her mother if he was denied contact with the victim.
The RRPD’s investigation revealed that Medina took the victim to Denver, Colo., where they boarded a bus. On July 12, 2015, Medina was arrested on a New Mexico state warrant when Medina and the victim were found on a bus that had stopped in Indianapolis.
During a July 13, 2015, interview with the FBI, the victim stated that on July 9, 2015, Medina arrived outside her home and the victim agreed to go with him out of fear. The victim also told the FBI that Medina took her from Albuquerque to Denver where they abandoned Medina’s car and boarded a bus. After departing Denver, Medina and the victim were eventually located in Indianapolis.
Medina was indicted on Aug. 11, 2015, and was charged with transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity between July 9, 2015 and July 12, 2015, and coercing and enticing a minor to produce visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Medina pled guilty to a felony information charging him with coercion or enticement. In entering the guilty plea, Medina admitted that from July 9, 2015 through July 12, 2015, he enticed the 16-years-old victim to leave Sandoval County, N.M., with the intent to travel to New York, where Medina intended to engage in sexual activity. Medina 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 the Rio Rancho Police Department, Corrales Police Department, the Denver Police Department and the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory, with assistance from the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Indiana State Police and the FBI in Indianapolis. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Mease is prosecuting the case.
The case is 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc/.