ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A children's minister for a local church was arrested Wednesday on federal child pornography charges by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Derek M. Schwartzrock, 34, a northeast heights Christian church minister, received and possessed visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to a criminal complaint.
HSI special agents began investigating Schwartzrock in mid-March after HSI Philadelphia determined that an individual in Albuquerque was accessing a website containing sexually explicit images of children. This investigation subsequently revealed that Schwartzrock was the subscriber for the Internet Protocol address that allegedly was used to download sexually explicit images of children.
On April 3, HSI special agents and New Mexico State Police (NMSP) detectives executed a state search warrant at Schwartzrock's residence. Authorities seized a computer, computer-related media and other electronic devices. A preliminary examination of the electronic devices, seized during the execution of the search warrant, revealed more than 12,000 images that appeared to be consistent with child pornography.
Schwartzrock is charged with possessing child pornography. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison. He would also be required to register as a sex offender.
Kevin M. Abar, assistant special agent in charge of HSI Albuquerque credited the ongoing working relationship between HSI and NMSP. "Our partnership with the New Mexico State Police was forged as one of HSI's initial alliances in our efforts to protect children. This partnership has resulted in numerous predators of children being removed from the streets of New Mexico and incarcerated in state and federal facilities."
Schwartzrock remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing that has not been set.
HSI, NMSP and the New Mexico Regional Forensic Lab investigated this case, which is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlyn E. Rees, District of New Mexico.
Anyone with information related to this case is encouraged to call 1-855-542-0952 toll free.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.
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.