CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Two southeast Texas men were each sentenced Thursday to 23 years in federal for producing child pornography in separate, but similar, cases that involved their use of social media.
Both investigations were conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Corpus Christi, and the Corpus Christi Police Department’s (CCPD) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, along with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
On April 11, Jesus Ramirez Jr., 27, was sentenced to 280 months (23 years and four months) in federal prison for producing child pornography; Julio Cesar Diaz, 31, was sentenced to 23 years (276 months) in federal prison for producing child pornography and online solicitation of a minor. Both men are from Corpus Christi, Texas. Upon their release from prison, both men will be on supervised release for the rest of their lives, and they must register as sex offenders. Ramirez was also ordered to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet.
Ramirez and Diaz pleaded guilty to their criminal charges in September and January 2018, respectively.
Ramirez admitted he had been using a false identity online to persuade and ultimately coerce minors to create and send nude and sexually graphic photos and videos of themselves to him. Each minor reported receiving disturbing messages from Ramirez. In them, Ramirez claimed to have created images that appeared to be naked pictures of them using photos found on their various social media accounts combined with pornographic photos. Ramirez threatened to send the created photos to the victims’ friends and classmates. While there was no evidence Ramirez had met any of his victims in person, law enforcement recovered evidence that he intended to do so using false and misleading information and messages.
Diaz admitted he used social media and a false name to meet minor females in and around Corpus Christi, grooming them via phone calls and chats. After a brief time, Diaz requested nude and sexually explicit images of the children; he ultimately met some of the minors to engage in sexual activity.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittany L. Jensen, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted these cases.
Both investigations were 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 19,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2018, more than 3,000 (3,191) child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 850 (859) victims identified or rescued.
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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.