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Child Exploitation
03/12/2012

South Texas man sentenced to 20 years in prison for distributing child pornography

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A south Texas man was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was conducted by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Corpus Christi Police Department's (CCPD) Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC).

Fernando Garcia, 40, of Odem, Texas, was given the statutory maximum 240-month sentence by Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack; she also ordered Garcia to serve a lifetime of supervised release and register as a sex offender. At the March 15 hearing, the mother of one of the victims offered testimony as to the effects on the victim. Garcia pleaded guilty Jan. 9, admitting he distributed images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

An HSI special agent conducting an online undercover investigation into persons distributing child pornography was able to download several images and trace them back to an account belonging to Garcia. A search warrant was executed on Garcia's home by HSI special agents and members of CCPD-ICAC where several computers were seized. At that time, Garcia advised law enforcement officers that they would discover numerous images of child pornography on the computers. A forensic analysis of the seized computers resulted in discovering more than 3,200 still images and 300 videos of child pornography.

Garcia will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined on the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

This investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children using the Internet.

As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or via its online tip form. 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.