Mercedes Man Convicted of Receiving Child Pornography Videos
McALLEN, Texas – A 21-year old resident of Mercedes has entered a guilty plea to one count of receipt of child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Gabriel Eduardo Sanchez came to the attention of law enforcement following an out-of-state investigation which began Sep. 17, 2015, into another individual who was arrested for electronically sending images of child pornography over the Internet. Through that investigation, it was determined that this individual had shared child pornography with Sanchez while utilizing the Kik messenger app.
On Sept. 14, 2016, FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at Sanchez’s Mercedes residence, during which time they seized several electronic devices and digital media storage devices. A forensic examination revealed more than 2,000 videos and in excess of 1,000 images of child pornography involving children who were clearly young engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These videos included children under the age of 12 involved in sadistic conduct, bondage and other depictions of violence.
During the plea today, Sanchez admitted he downloaded, received and shared child pornography on Kik Messenger and WhatsApp and saved the images on multiple storage devices.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa accepted the guilty plea and set sentencing for June 14, 2017. At that time, Sanchez faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.
The FBI conducted the investigation.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Benavides, 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."