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Press Release

Traveler caught bringing in child pornography via POE

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas – A 40-year-old Mexican citizen has been sentenced for transporting child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Luis Alberto Hernandez-Venegas pleaded guilty Nov. 30, 2023.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now ordered Hernandez-Venegas to serve 97 months in federal prison. He will also serve five years on supervised release following completion of his prison term. Hernandez-Venegas will also be ordered to register as a sex offender and as a non-U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Hernandez-Venegas knowingly joined a Telegram group well-known for distributing child pornography. From this Telegram chat, he possessed 25 videos of child pornography which equated to approximately 1,875 images.  In handing down the sentence, Chief Judge Crane noted that Hernandez helped to provide for a family in Mexico with the intention of engaging in a relationship with their teenage child.

On Sept. 26, 2023, Hernandez-Venegas attempted to make entry into the United States from Mexico at the Donna Port of Entry. Authorities referred him to secondary inspection where a preliminary consensual search of his phone revealed images containing child pornography.

Law enforcement reviewed the contents of the phone and found multiple images, videos and chat messages depicting child pornography including prepubescent and pubescent male minors performing sexually explicit acts.

Hernandez-Venegas acknowledged communicating with male minors between the ages of 15 and 17. He also admitted to being in a relationship with a 15-year-old male who resides in Mexico and identified images of him on his cellphone.

He said he knowingly and intentionally possessed, received and viewed child pornography.

Hernandez-Venegas will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexa D. Parcell 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.

Updated April 15, 2024

Project Safe Childhood