FRESNO, Calif. - A Porterville, Calif., man is facing more than 17 years in federal prison today after pleading guilty to one count of sexually exploiting a minor by producing sexually explicit images of the victim who was under 12 years of age.
As part of his plea, Victor Israel Martinez, 30, agreed to a prison term of at least 210 months and a lifetime term of supervised release during which his access to minors, computers and the Internet will be restricted.
This case stems from an investigation by the Fresno Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Fresno County Sheriff's Department and the Lindsay and Porterville police departments.
"This case is significant because the defendant admitted actually producing child pornography, which, under the plea agreement, means he's facing a sentence of more than 17 years in prison," said Brian Poulsen, resident agent in charge for the ICE Office of Investigations in Fresno. "That penalty ensures this defendant will be unable to victimize additional children for a long, long time. We owe it to the young victims in these cases to pursue the offenders aggressively, since many of the children who are sexually exploited by those who produce child pornography will bear the emotional scars of the trauma for rest of their lives."
According to prosecutors, Martinez admitted that in September 2007 he coerced a minor female to engage in sexually explicit conduct so he could produce visual depictions of the conduct. Martinez took digital still images of the victim and transferred them to a computer. Martinez then uploaded the images to a Yahoo! account and transferred the images to a second Yahoo! account. Martinez agreed to accept sentencing enhancements because his offense involved sexual contact and distribution of images involving a minor under 12 years old.
Martinez has been detained as a flight risk and a danger to the community since his initial appearance in federal court in January. His sentencing is scheduled for July 13. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime term of supervised release.
The case against Martinez is the result of Operation Predator, an ongoing ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood (PSC).
ICE encourages the reporting of suspected child predators through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is 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.