Laredoan Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Pornography
LAREDO, Texas – Oscar Herrera III, 42, of Laredo, has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Janice Ayala, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio and Webb County Sherriff Martin Cuellar.
“This case is another example of the many successes resulting from the strong partnership between HSI and Webb County,” said Ayala, “a partnership which is a credit to the leadership and direction of Sheriff Martin Cuellar.”
As part of the plea today, the court heard that an investigator with the Webb County Sheriff’s Office, while using peer-to-peer software, was able to successfully download various files containing child pornography from an IP address associated with Herrera. As a result of this information, HSI special agents were contacted to assist in the investigation.
In November 2014, agents executed a search warrant at Herrera’s residence, at which time they seized various electronic devices. Forensic analysis on those devices revealed more than 3,000 images and more than 400 videos of child pornography. Herrera admitted watching the videos and that he knew that it was wrong.
“We’re glad individuals such as Herrera are admitting to the crime they committed, said Cuellar. “We will continue to be on the lookout for those who prey on the most vulnerable members of our population and ensure that they are brought to justice.”
The arrest of Herrera was a result of Operation Child Guardian, which was launched by the Webb County Sheriff’s Office in 2009. The success of these investigations have put dozens of suspected child predators behind bars.
U.S. District Court Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo accepted the guilty plea today and set sentencing for June 30, 2015. At that time, Herrera faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Herrera also faces up to life on supervised release during which time the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
Herrera has been and will remain in custody pending sentencing.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. dos Santos, was brought 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."