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Press Release

Edinburg resident sentenced for using Snapchat to entice minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas – A 31-year-old Mexican citizen who resided in Edinburg has been sent to prison for coercion and enticement of a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Santos Emilio Marcial-Castro pleaded guilty Aug. 29, 2023.

U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton has now ordered Marcial-Castro to serve 120 months in prison. The sentence will be immediately followed by five years on supervised release during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his sentence. At the hearing, the court noted that despite the likelihood of his removal from the country, he still needed to follow all the conditions imposed on him and not re-enter the country illegally.

In April 2023, law enforcement had discovered numerous conversations between Marcial-Castro and a then 15-year-old minor. The investigation revealed he had been communicating with the victim from May 2021 to April 2023 via Snapchat.

Marcial-Castro was aware the victim was a minor. During their initial conversations, the child told him about her upcoming 14th birthday. Over the course of the next two years, Marcial-Castro sent sexually explicit messages to the victim and enticed the minor to send nude images on multiple occasions. He also told her about his desire to have sex with minors and specifically requested nude photos of the victim’s genitals.

Marcial-Castro will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations – Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigations Task Force conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexis Garcia prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.

Updated May 15, 2024

Project Safe Childhood