Non-citizen imprisoned on child pornography charges
HOUSTON – A 54-year-old man who remained in the United States after his Visa had expired has been ordered to prison for receipt and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Alberto Bernal Garcia resided in Houston and pleaded guilty April 16.
Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal sentenced Garcia 120 months for the receipt and possession convictions, respectively. The sentences will run concurrently. The court also considered statements detailing the impact to victims of child pornography. In handing down the sentence, Judge Rosenthal recognized receipt and possession of child pornography as a form of child abuse and a sickness or disorder. Garcia was further ordered to pay $76,000 in restitution to known victims and will serve five years on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face deportation proceedings following the sentence.
On or about May 20, 2018, law enforcement initiated an investigation into child pornography sharing which eventually led them to Garcia’s work address. Authorities executed a search warrant and seized a laptop and external hard drive which Garcia used. A forensic analysis resulted in the discovery of approximately 794 videos and 4,837 images of child pornography including pre-pubescent children, some as young as 3, and bestiality. Garcia collected his child pornography on his personal computer and an external hard drive.
Garcia came to the United States on a Visa in 1997 from Mexico. He did an array of work until he started helping individuals with viruses on their computers. At the time of his arrest, Garcia owned a computer repair shop within a convenience store.
Garcia has been and will remain in custody 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—Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted this investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Zahra Jivani Fenelon prosecuted 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.