HOUSTON — A Houston-area man was sentenced Thursday to 136 months in federal prison for receiving and possessing child pornography.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case. The Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force participated in this investigation.
Patrick Jake Nicholas Luera, 31, from Webster, Texas, pleaded guilty to the criminal charges on June 27, 2017. After he completes his prison sentence, Luera must also serve 15 years of supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He must also register as a sex offender.
Luera came to the attention of law enforcement following an investigation dubbed “Operation Back to School” in August 2015 that targeted the online solicitation of minors. During this operation, Luera engaged in online chats with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old girl and drove to a location where he believed he would have sex with her.
Following his arrest, authorities searched Luera’s home in Webster. They discovered and seized various items of computer media, which a forensic analysis revealed contained more than 4,000 images and 75 videos of child pornography involving young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These videos included children under the age of 12 involved in sadistic conduct, including bondage.
At the time of his plea last year, Luera admitted he received and saved the images and videos on multiple storage devices.
Luera will remain in custody pending his transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.
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 16,000 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 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 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.