Ulises Sandoval, 26, who is in custody, faces a statutory sentence of not less than 15 or more than 30 years in federal prison on the production count, and a statutory maximum of 20 years in federal prison on the possession count. In addition, each count carries a maximum statutory fine of $250,000 and up to a lifetime of supervised release. Sentencing is set for March 5, before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade.
This guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to the factual resume filed in the case, HSI special agents received information that a person, later identified as Sandoval, was trading images of child pornography via email. The special agents executed a search warrant at his home Sept. 25, and arrested him the same day after discovering the child pornography.
Sandoval admitted using his email address to join a website to trade images and videos of child pornography. He also admitted using email to meet individuals with a similar interest in child pornography to trade child pornography with them. He admitted taking photographs of "Jane Doe," who was less than 7 years old at the time, while he engaged in sexually explicit conduct with her, and then he shared those images with others.
Forensic analysis located images of child pornography on Sandoval's laptop computer. Sandoval admitted that he had stored more than 2,500 child pornography images and videos on his hard drive, and some of those depicted sadistic and or violent conduct; 21 of the files depicted infants and toddlers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks, Northern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted.