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May 10, 2022San Antonio, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI investigation results in a 20-year prison sentence of a San Antonio man for receipt and possession of child pornography

SAN ANTONIO — A local man was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison for receipt and possession of child pornography following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Andres Antonio Ponce, 22, from San Antonio, was sentenced May 10 in federal court to 235 months in federal prison to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release. Ponce pleaded guilty April 15, 2021.

“Child pornography traded online lives on forever, repeatedly haunting the innocent children whose abuse is depicted in these images and videos. While we can’t undo the harm that has been caused, we hope that this significant sentence helps the victims with the healing process” said Craig Larrabee, Acting Special Agent in Charge, HSI San Antonio. “We will continue to dedicate our law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice predators who willfully victimize the most vulnerable segment in our communities”.

According to court documents, on April 1, 2021, HSI arrested Ponce. Ponce admitted to sexually abusing minors who he had regular access to. HSI with assistance from HSI forensic interviewers identified at least three child victims that were abused by Ponce. Additionally, Ponce, is believed to have downloaded several thousand files of child pornography.

Ponce remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 1-866-347-2423, or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial (802) 872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY (802) 872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), ICAC partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

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.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and non-government partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify, and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 05/13/2022