LAREDO, Texas — A Mexican citizen was sentenced Wednesday for traveling into the United States with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance from the Webb County Sheriff's Office.
Juan Castillo-Mendoza, 46, a resident of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment. Castillo-Mendoza, pleaded guilty to the charge on Oct. 25, 2012.
"Protecting America's children from sexual predators is one of the most important public safety roles we have at HSI," said Vincent Iglio, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. "Today's sentencing demonstrates that HSI and our law enforcement partners will use every tool at our disposal to stop these predators in their tracks, and protect their innocent victims."
According to court documents, between July and August 2012 Castillo-Mendoza initiated contact and engaged in numerous online chats with an undercover investigator who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. During their first chat, Castillo-Mendoza was informed several times that the girl he had initiated contact with was 14 years old. The online conversations soon turned personal and Castillo-Mendoza told the undercover investigator he wanted her to become his girlfriend. He asked her to keep their relationship a secret and tried to entice her to travel to Nuevo Laredo so that they could meet. He also steered the online chats towards sex and repeatedly asked the undercover investigator about sex.
After a month of online chatting, Castillo-Mendoza made plans to visit the girl and have sex with her while her mother was away at work. Castillo-Mendoza arrived at the Laredo apartment address given to him by the undercover investigator and he was subsequently arrested.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonah Lee, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.