DES MOINES, Iowa — A central Iowa man was sentenced in federal court Monday to 14 years in prison for possessing child pornography.
The sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Arleigh Joe Esqueda, 35, of Newton, Iowa, pleaded guilty to the charge and received an immediate sentence on one count of knowingly possessing child pornography that included images of prepubescent children under 12.
"Our office has no higher priority than protecting children from sexual predators," explained U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. "We continue to investigate any and all persons we know who participates in the child pornography marketplace as a producer or consumer."
According to court documents, Esqueda had more than 10 previous state-court convictions for various crimes, including one prior sex offense when he was 17. His collection of child pornography was accumulated over five years, and he had 351 images and 77 videos of child pornography on his computer when caught by authorities in 2013.
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.
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.