Keller, Texas, resident Marco A. Flores, 19, remains in federal custody pending an April 4 detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey L. Cureton in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth.
According to the affidavit filed with the March 29 complaint, the investigation began when an undercover officer with the Fort Worth Police Department's Crimes Against Children Unit used computer file-sharing software to download child pornography video files and still images. The video and images originated from an IP address assigned to a Keller residence. Special agents executed a search warrant at the residence and seized several computers. Flores, who lived in the residence, admitted using file-sharing software, but initially denied involvement with child pornography. However, a forensic examination of the evidence identified files containing child pornography, and Flores admitted possessing child pornography.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. If convicted of this offense, however, Flores faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Attorney's office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.
HSI and the Fort Worth Police Department are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem is in charge of the prosecution.
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. 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.