Friendswood man gets 40 years after sexually exploiting child
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
GALVESTON, Texas - A 22-year-old man from Friendswood has received a significant sentence following his convictions for producing and possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Malik Berlanga pleaded guilty April 3, 2019.
Today, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. handed Berlanga a sentence of 360 months for the sexual exploitation of a child aka production of child pornography. He also received 120 months for the possession conviction which will run consecutively for a total 40-year-prison sentence. Berlanga will also be on supervised release for life following completion of that 480-month federal prison term.
At the hearing, the court heard that Berlanga’s preferential age was between 5-10 years old and had a foot fetish. In one particular video, Berlanga is seen licking and sucking a minor female’s feet while she is asleep. He then appears to ejaculate off-camera with a semen-like substance then found on her feet.
At the hearing, the court described other pornographic videos in Berlanga’s possession involving children under the age of five. In handing down the sentence, Judge Hanks noted he had a duty to protect the public and anything less than the term imposed would not have done that.
A cyber-tip submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children led to the Berlanga’s identification. He had created videos of a minor female and stored them in his Dropbox account. Authorities found 14 child pornography videos in a folder entitled Personal CP that Berlanga produced.
Law enforcement later conducted a search warrant at his residence, at which time they seized several cellular phones and a laptop computer located within Berlanga’s bedroom. Forensic analysis of those items revealed more than 5000 images and 70 videos containing child pornography. Authorities also found several videos that Berlanga produced on these devices as well.
In one video, Berlanga picks up a minor victim, wraps her legs around his waist and proceeds to simulate sexual intercourse while he remains standing. In an image he also produced, his penis is seen on the back of her jeans while she is lying down.
The investigation revealed the victim to be a minor relative, approximately 7-8 years of age during the production of some of the videos and images.
The investigation revealed some of the images were taken at a hotel in the Galleria area during the 2018 BBQ cook off - the precursor to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which included detectives from police departments in Galveston, Pearland and Webster.
Berlanga has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack is prosecuting 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 February 21, 2020
Project Safe Childhood