Laredoan Sentenced For Receiving And Sharing Child Pornography
LAREDO, Texas – Alberto Garza-Gaona, 27, of Laredo, has been ordered to federal prison for receiving and sharing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. He pleaded guilty Sept. 5, 2014.
Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo handed Garza-Gaona a sentence of 84 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by 10 years of supervised release. He was further ordered to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notice Act. Garza-Gaona is a student Visa holder and is expected to face deportation proceedings following completion of his sentence.
In February 2014, an investigation was launched and focused on the distribution and receipt of child pornography through electronic file sharing using peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Soon after, law enforcement discovered various child pornography videos that had been downloaded to a to a specific IP address. That IP address was identified as belonging to Garza-Gaona.
A search warrant was executed at his residence on June 4, 2014, at which time agents seized numerous computer and storage devices. A subsequent forensic analysis led to the discovery of 27,134 images and 23 videos containing child pornography. An additional 497 child pornography video file remnants had also been discovered. All of the materials were found on devices located in the Garza-Gaona’s bedroom connected to various P2P networks.
Garza-Gaona admitted he downloaded the child pornography and that all of the media devices found in his bedroom belonged to him.
At the hearing today, a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent testified regarding the high volume of pornographic videos found on Garza-Gaona's computer. Upon sentencing Garza-Gaona, Judge Marmolejo commented that child pornography is the torturing of young children. Garza-Gaona will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
HSI and the Webb County Sherriff’s Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker is prosecuting the case.
The charges were the 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.
The prosecution 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."