Ricky Valencia, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., was taken into custody at his residence Tuesday by New York HSI agents. He was arraigned at the federal court in White Plains before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison.
According to court documents in the case, Valencia admitted he had taken pornographic pictures of a minor. He also had also used Gnutella, a peer-to-peer file sharing software, to download child pornography.
During the course of the nine-month investigation, HSI agents seized Valencia's laptop computer. A forensic analysis of the laptop revealed Valencia had downloaded videos of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Further investigation revealed that numerous images of child pornography were found on a computer linked to an IP address registered to Valencia's residence.
"This defendant wasn't just a passive observer of child pornography, he admitted to federal agents that he took pornographic pictures of a minor," said James T. Hayes, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI in New York. "Removing those who sexually exploit children in this manner from our communities continues to be a high priority for HSI and we will continue to dedicate our investigative resources and expertise to stop this type of crime."
Valencia faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison on the more serious charge of receipt of child pornography. He also can be fined up to $250,000 on each charge when he is sentenced.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.