Xavier Degollado, 31, of McAllen, Texas, entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez on Jan. 3. By pleading guilty to receiving child pornography, Degollado acknowledged that he had downloaded child pornography and was aware that it was illegal to do so.
According to court documents, ICE HSI executed a search warrant at Degollado's residence on Nov. 10 where they identified a home computer and discovered child pornography downloaded through a peer-to-peer network.
Subsequently, ICE HSI conducted a forensic examination of his computer where they discovered more than 500 still images and 66 videos of clearly young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Some of the children were under 12 years of age. Some of the images are of known victims who have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Degollado was permitted to remain on bond pending his March 14 sentencing hearing. He faces a potential sentence of at least five years and up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and five years to life on supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan F. Alanis, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
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 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.