ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico man pleaded guilty in federal court last week to transporting a minor in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.
This case was investigated by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The plea agreement recommends that Ignacio Salcido Jr., 38, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, be sentenced to between 120 to 135 months in federal prison, which is to be followed by a period of supervised release to be determined by the court.
In the plea agreement, Salcido also agreed to pay $210,012 in restitution to any victim who requests restitution prior to sentencing. Salcido will also be required to register as a sex offender.
HSI special agents arrested Salcido Aug. 26, 2016, on a criminal complaint alleging that he transported a child under the age of 18 years in interstate commerce on Aug. 22 and 23, 2016, with the intention of engaging in sexual activity. According to the criminal complaint, Salcido traveled with the victim from Phoenix, Arizona, to Juarez, Mexico, then to Las Cruces, and engaged in sexual activity with the victim during that time. Salcido subsequently was indicted on the same charge on Nov. 9, 2016.
According to court documents, Salcido picked up the victim on the side of the road in Phoenix on Aug. 22, 2016, while traveling with two other individuals (witnesses) from San Diego, California. Court documents further allege that the witnesses observed Salcido attempt to sexually abuse the victim on several occasions during the trip while the victim was sleeping in the vehicle. Later that day, Salcido drove the victim and the witnesses into Juarez, where he again attempted to sexually abuse the victim while the witnesses were not in the vehicle. After returning to the United States, Salcido drove the victim and the witnesses to his residence in Las Cruces. At his residence, Salcido allegedly forced the victim to engage in sexual activity. The investigation into Salcido began Aug. 23, 2016, when one of the witnesses reported the sexual assault to school officials in Las Cruces.
On April 12, 2017, Salcido pleaded guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Aug. 22, 2016, he transported the victim, who was under the age of 18 years, in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim. Salcido remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
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 14,000 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 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 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.