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Child Exploitation

Former south Texas high school teacher sentenced to more than 4 years for possessing child pornography

LAREDO, Texas — A former Laredo high school teacher was sentenced to 52 months in federal prison for possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

This investigation was conducted by the Webb County Sheriff's Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jorge Valadez, 53, was sentenced to four years and four months in prison by Senior U.S. District Judge George Kazen. This sentence will be followed by 10 years of supervised release and registration as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty to possessing four videos of child pornography Nov. 13, 2013.

"By conducting these types of investigations, HSI takes child predators off the Internet, off the streets and puts them behind bars," said Janice Ayala, special agent in charge of HSI in San Antonio. "Targeting these crimes against children is a high priority for HSI. We will continue to dedicate law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice child predators who traumatize and victimize children."

Valadez was sharing his computer files on a peer-to-peer network. An investigator was able to download two complete and two partial videos tracked to Valadez for examination.

Federal authorities executed search and seizure warrants for Valdez's home, automobile, computers and electronic storage devices on Sept. 13, 2013. At that time, Valadez agreed to speak with the HSI special agents and admitted he had downloaded child pornography videos and images over the last five years out of curiosity, adding that he was unsure of how many videos he had actually downloaded.

Agents located four videos containing child pornography on his computer. Valadez further admitted he had his computer "cleaned" shortly before the encounter with federal authorities.

Valadez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jose Homero Ramirez and Sonah Lee, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

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 the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of 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.

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 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.