PECOS, Texas — A west Texas man remains in custody after his Friday arrest on drug and child pornography charges by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Alberto Martinez Jr., 49, was charged in federal court Monday with producing and possessing child pornography, and possessing methamphetamine. Martinez's detention hearing is set for Dec. 4.
According to court documents, a relative of Martinez filed a complaint Nov. 8 with the Reeves County (Texas) Sheriff's Office alleging Martinez possessed on his computer and cellular phone photos and videos of him engaging in sexually explicit conduct with minors.
Sheriff's deputies investigated the complaint and referred the case to HSI special agents for federal prosecution.
On Nov. 29, members of the HSI-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) in Big Bend, Reeves County sheriff's deputies, Pecos Police Department officers, and U.S. Marshals executed a search warrant at Martinez's home. Agents found a video camera that contained a self-produced video depicting Martinez engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a minor.
While executing the search warrant, agents also found a small quantity of methamphetamine in Martinez's possession, and a glass pipe and other drug paraphernalia with drug residue.
A preliminary review of Martinez's computer by HSI computer forensics special agents revealed more than 100 images showing children being sexually exploited. The images were of nude children and youth ranging in age from 4 to 16.
A forensic review of the video camera, revealed four videos of children being sexually exploited that Martinez produced. Two videos showed Martinez paying two little girls to perform sex acts.
"HSI enjoys robust partnerships with local, state and other federal law enforcement agencies to more effectively investigate and remove sexual predators from our communities so they can no longer victimize innocent children," said Dennis A. Ulrich, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso.
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.