Julian Gonzalez, 31, of Mission, Texas, pleaded guilty to the federal felony charge.
According to court documents filed in the case, the United States proved that on March 23 Alton Police and a Texas Ranger made contact with Gonzalez regarding an investigation into allegations that he had taken inappropriate videos of a 12 year old with his cellular phone. At that time, Gonzalez provided both his cell phone and his personal computer to the officers giving consent to review the items. Upon reviewing the computer, the officers discovered videos of child pornography. The officers then contacted ICE HSI to aid in forensically examining that computer and another computer belonging to Gonzalez found afterwards.
ICE HSI discovered 136 child pornographic movies of clearly young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The videos included images of children under 12 years old. Some of the images are of known victims who have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Gonzalez was arrested the same day. A federal grand jury in May returned an indictment charging Gonzales with receiving and possessing child pornography obtained via the Internet.
Gonzalez has been in state custody since his March 23 arrest. He was transferred into federal custody on May 11, where he has remained without bond. On July 29, Gonzalez admitted downloading child pornography videos via websites knowing the images were illegal but feeling compelled to obtain more videos after obtaining a few. Gonzalez faces a potential sentence of at least five up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and term of supervised release of five years to life. Sentencing is set for Oct. 11. Gonzalez will remain in custody pending sentencing.
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.