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Child Exploitation

2 Illinois men indicted for child pornography violations in unrelated cases

PEORIA, Ill. – Two Illinois men were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in separate and unrelated indictments that charge the defendants in the Central District of Illinois with child pornography offenses.

These charges resulted from investigations conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Michael E. Ontiveros, 50, of Decatur, Ill., was charged with one count of possessing child pornography. He was arrested Aug. 7 and charged by criminal complaint. U.S. Magistrate judge David G. Bernthal ordered Ontiveros to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. HSI was assisted in the investigation by the Decatur Police Department and the Illinois Secretary of State. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elly Peirson, Central District of Illinois, is prosecuting this case.

In an unrelated case, Jorge Muhedano-Hernandez, 29, of Bloomington, Ill., was charged with one count each of producing child pornography, illegally re-entering the United States after being deported, and possessing fraudulent identification documents. The indictment also charges two other defendants, Jorge Muhedano-Martinez, 54, and Maria Ignacia Antonio-Cruz, both of Bloomington, Ill., with one count each of possessing fraudulent identification documents. HSI was assisted in this investigation by the Bloomington Police Department and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk D. Schoenbein, Central District of Illinois, is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the statutory penalty for possessing child pornography is up to 10 years in prison. If convicted of producing child pornography, the penalty is a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in prison. The penalty for possessing fraudulent identification documents and for illegally re-entering the United States after being deported is up to 10 years and 20 years in prison, respectively.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

These investigations were part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

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.