ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former New Mexico elementary school janitor pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to federal child pornography charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
David Anaya Garcia, 32, was employed as a janitor in a Las Cruces elementary school at the time he committed the crimes.
Authorities arrested Garcia in July 2015 on a criminal complaint charging him with distributing and possessing child pornography. According to the complaint, HSI initiated the federal investigation leading to Garcia’s arrest in June 2015. New Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General originated the state investigation when the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force revealed that an Internet Protocol address belonging to Garcia’s residential address was being used to download child pornography. Las Cruces Police Department officers and HSI special agents executed a federal search warrant at his residence and arrested Garcia July 1, 2015.
Garcia was subsequently indicted Sept. 16, 2015. He was charged with distributing child pornography March 26, 2015, receiving child pornography from March through April 2015, and possessing child pornography July 1, 2015. All offenses charged in the indictment occurred in Doña Ana County, New Mexico.
During Monday’s proceedings, Garcia pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography. He admitted that between March 12 and April 30, 2015, he distributed child pornography through file-sharing software that allowed others to download the images and videos he saved to a shared folder. Garcia further admitted that in July 2015, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at his home where they seized an HP Pavilion laptop computer containing five images and 88 videos depicting child pornography, and a thumb-drive containing 56 images and 55 videos depicting child pornography.
At sentencing, Garcia faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison followed by not less than five years of supervised released. Garcia will also be required to register as a sex offender.
In addition to HSI, the following agencies participated in this case: Las Cruces Police Department, New Mexico Office of the Attorney General, Doña Ana County Sherriff’s Department, New Mexico ICAC Task Force and the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
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 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 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.