Jury Convicts Corpus Christi Man for Online Solicitation of Minors
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A federal jury has returned a guilty verdict against a 42-year-old Corpus Christi man on child exploitation charges, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for approximately 20 minutes following less than two days of trial before convicting Spencer Salcedoof two counts of online solicitation of minors and two counts of transfer of obscene material to minors
According to the evidence presented at trial, Salcedo was communicating with a person he believed was the mother of two minor female children - ages 14 and 11. In reality, he was actually talking to an undercover police officer. During the course of the communications, he made arrangements to meet and engage in sexual activity with the mother’s children. Salcedo also sent sexually explicit photographs through text messages intended for the children.
He was apprehended as he arrived at the designated meeting place. At the time of his arrest, Salcedo had condoms with him and candy for the children.
At trial, the jury heard from an agent who testified that Salcedo gave a conflicting statement as to why he showed up to the meeting location.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will impose sentencing on April 4, 2018. At that time, Salcedo faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the online solicitation charge and up to 10 years in federal prison for the transfer of obscene material to minors. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Salcedo also faces a maximum of life on supervised release for all charges during which time the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
Previously released on bond, Salcedo was remanded to custody following the verdict where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Corpus Christi Police Department - Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation as part of Operation Hidden Predator, a joint investigation targeting individuals involved in online solicitation of minors.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez and Jeff S. Miller prosecuted the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."