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May 15, 2017Nashville, TN, United StatesChild Exploitation

Guatemalan man sentenced to 50 years in prison for production of child pornography

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Guatemalan man, illegally present in the U.S., was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison Friday for two counts of producing child pornography.

The sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith of the Middle District of Tennessee.

Edwin Velasquez-Curuchiche, 40, of Guatemala, formerly of Lebanon, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to two counts of producing child pornography on Feb. 21, 2016.

According to court documents, Curuchiche lived in a trailer park in Lebanon, Tennessee, and in 2015, he befriended a family who lived nearby. Over a period of several months, Curuchiche established a relationship with the family and their three children, who included a 9-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl and an infant. Curuchiche gave the children video gaming systems and other electronic devices, taught them how to play the games and offered to play with them when their father was not home.

In September 2015, Curuchiche used a ruse to trick the mother into letting him borrow her house key after which he copied the key, without her knowledge, before returning it to her. Also in 2015, he learned that the 6-year-old daughter was running a fever and he took a bag of medicine to the mother and encouraged her to give the child an adult dose of Valium. The parents of the child did not give the medication to their daughter and Curuchiche later attempted to pay the girl’s 9-year-old brother to give her the medication.

On September 23, 2015, Curuchiche snuck into the family’s home during the night and recorded himself sexually molesting the 6-year-old girl while she slept. Again, on October 1, 2015, Curuchiche snuck into the home and recorded additional videos of him sexually molesting the child as she slept.

In late October 2015, the 6-year-old child awoke during the night and went to her parent’s bedroom crying that someone had been touching her while she slept. One of her parents checked her bedroom and finding nothing, they assumed the child was imagining things.

On the evening of October 29, 2015, the family returned to their home after a trip to the store. After entering the home, the daughter went to her bedroom to get a toy. Curuchiche was hiding under the bed and tried to grab her by the arm and quiet her by telling her to play a game on a cell phone, which he had previously given to her. The girl ran to her parents and the father found Curuchiche hiding in his daughter’s bedroom closet, where he held him until police arrived and took him into custody.

Court documents also show Curuchiche was apprehended in June 2013 when he unlawfully entered the United States. He subsequently failed to appear for an immigration hearing and was living in the U.S. unlawfully when he committed this offense.

“No sentence can ever restore the innocence this illegal alien took from these little children.  The fact that he would sneak into their house at night, victimize them, and film the whole thing highlights the danger he posed to the entire community,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer. “While he serves his 50 year sentence, HSI Tennessee will work to ensure his victims receive the support they need.”

Hammer is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of HSI in Tennessee.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Lebanon Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Carran Daughtrey.

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.