Albert Silva Hernandez Jr., 43, of Las Vegas, is charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury July 10, with eight counts of sexual exploitation of a child and three counts of transporting child pornography. The indictment alleges the defendant exchanged sexually explicit text messages and photographs with a minor girl. According to the indictment, the text messages were exchanged between Hernandez and the victim Dec. 25, 2011, and on three dates in January and February of this year.
Hernandez made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Johnston. If convicted, he faces 15 years minimum on each sexual exploitation count and five years minimum on each child pornography count.
The charges are the result of an investigation by HSI Las Vegas and the Clark County School District Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy J. Koppe.
This investigation is part of ICE's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Project Safe Childhood, which was launched to increase federal prosecution of child sex predators, and to reduce the number of Internet crimes against children including child pornography trafficking.
As part of Operation Predator, ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or 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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.
As part of Project Safe Childhood, U.S. Attorneys' Offices and DOJ's Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section marshal 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."
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.