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Child Exploitation
11/28/2012

Mexican national pleads guilty to possession of child pornography

POCATELLO, Idaho — A 25-year-old Mexican national pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Rexburg Police Department.

Heriberto Aleman-Aguero, formerly of St. Anthony, Idaho, admitted in a plea agreement to possessing images of child pornography. The defendant's illicit cache was discovered by a cellphone repair technician last August when Aleman-Aguero went to a wireless retail store in Rexburg to have his phone reprogrammed.

Aleman-Aguero completed a repair request form with his name and telephone number and left his cellphone at the store. While the phone was being repaired, a technician observed several images and videos containing what he believed to be child pornography. He contacted police, who obtained a search warrant for the phone. HSI forensic analysis of the cellphone and its memory card revealed over a dozen sexually explicit images of minors, including depictions of pre-teen children engaged in sexual acts with adults.

"Child pornography producers and consumers destroy innocent lives," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle, who oversees Idaho investigations. "I commend the cellphone technician who discovered the defendant's collection and contacted police. When it comes to protecting children, we can't take chances. We can't ignore the obvious. We all have a responsibility to take appropriate action."

The charge of possessing sexually explicit images of minors is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and at least five years of supervised release. Aleman-Aguero is scheduled to be sentenced March 4, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE 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 (1-800-843-5678).

HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative 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.