This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Victoria Police Department.
Vincent Tyler Jimenez, 32, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey who took into consideration testimony from the government and the victims in the case. Noting the need to protect the public and to reflect the seriousness of his crime, the court handed down the 25-year sentence. In addition to the prison term, Jimenez was ordered to serve 15 years of supervised release after he completes his prison term; he will also be required to register as a sex offender. Jimenez pleaded guilty to the charges July 1.
"This case underscores the fact that there will be no refuge for child sexual predators who believe they can pursue their perverse behavior with impunity," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "Sadly, today's technology in the hands of a predator with access to children has put our children at greater risk than ever before. Despite the odds, HSI special agents and our support staff will continue to work tirelessly to protect our kids and bring their abusers to justice."
On July 3, 2012, an investigation in Waller County, Texas, was conducted into a person pretending to be a child who was soliciting children to produce pornographic images of themselves. The investigation revealed that Jimenez, while pretending to be a girl, used a cell phone to text a child. Jimenez was able to convince the child to produce nude images and then send those images to him.
Over time, Jimenez learned the identity of the child's minor sibling and began communicating with that sibling as well. Jimenez was able to convince the second sibling to also produce nude images.
At some point, the first victim resisted demands for more nude images and Jimenez then began to blackmail the victim with threats to distribute the pictures online if Jimenez did not receive new images.
Jimenez' criminal activity was discovered by a parent of the children and reported to law enforcement. A state search warrant was executed on his Victoria County home, at which time a cell phone was discovered containing some of the nude images.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including producing and distributing online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing 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 & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.