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October 4, 2022McAllen, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI McAllen, federal partner investigation results in the 15 year sentencing of a repeat child sex offender

MCALLEN, Texas – A South Texas man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for obtaining child pornography following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Jose Ricardo Zamora-Ibarra, 35, illegally residing in Palmview was sentenced Oct. 4 to 180 months in prison. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. Zamora-Ibarra was further ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to known victims and must register as a sex offender. Zamora-Ibarra pleaded guilty Dec. 14, 2021. At the time of his plea, Zamora-Ibarra admitted to downloading over 250 files of child pornography utilizing a peer-to-peer platform.

“Because of the outstanding investigative efforts of HSI and our federal partners, this repeat child sex offender will serve a lengthy federal prison sentence,” said Craig Larrabee, Acting Special Agent in Charge, HSI San Antonio. “HSI will continue to work tirelessly to identify these dangerous offenders and bring them to justice. Our efforts are vital to protecting our nation’s most vulnerable population from repeat sexual predators who troll the internet looking for additional victims.”

According to court documents, HSI recovered Zamora-Ibarra’s laptop computer and an external hard drive. A forensic examination of the files determined the videos and images depicted prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Zamora-Ibarra saved the child pornography onto his devices into created files named “preteen boy sex” and “preteen girl sex.”

Zamora-Ibarra was previously convicted of sexual assault of a child and subsequently removed from the United States. He then illegally re-entered the country without authorization.

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

For more news and information on HSI Houston’s efforts to aggressively investigate child exploitation and keep Southeast Texas communities safe from child predators follow us on Twitter @HSI_SanAntonio.

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), Internet Crimes Against Children (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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (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 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 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.