Alabama man pleads guilty to transporting child pornography
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a man from Alabama pleaded guilty to transporting sexually explicit pictures of a minor.
Mario Duran, 49, of Jemison, Ala., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to one count of transporting child pornography. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, while investigating another case, made contact with Duran in April of 2014 while he was parked in his truck in the Crowley, La., Wal-Mart parking lot. Present with Duran were two minor females. The minors said they did not know Duran, and that he had picked them up in Alabama and was transporting them to Texas to meet their father. The vehicle was searched, and three cell phones were found. Upon further investigation, law enforcement agents found sexually explicit pictures of a minor on one of the phones. The images on the phone were not of the minors Duran was transporting.
Duran faces five to 20 years in prison, five years to life of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and registration as a sex offender. A sentencing date was not set.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice launched nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) encourage the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE. Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online at www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone app (http://www.ice.gov/predator/smartphone-app). Tips may be submitted anonymously.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla A. Bynog and Myers P. Namie are prosecuting the case.