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Child Exploitation

Northern California man sentenced for bringing Mexican minor to US to engage in illicit sexual activity

FRESNO, Calif. — A northern California man has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for traveling with the intent to engage in sexual activity with a minor.

In addition to the 51-month jail term, David Valencia, 43, of Merced, Calif., will be subject to five years of supervised release upon completion of his prison sentence.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Merced Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, Valencia admitted he spent time with a 16-year-old girl and her family in Mexico. In August 2007, he paid a human smuggler $2,000 to bring the girl across the border. He admitted that he intended for their relationship to progress towards marriage and to engage in sexual intercourse with her after she entered the United States. He admitted that in fact, at his home in Merced, they did engage in sexual intercourse.

"What happened to the teenage victim in this case is a powerful reminder about why law enforcement must remain ever vigilant in its ongoing efforts to target those who prey upon and sexually exploit innocent children," said Paul Leonardi, resident agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Fresno. "Pedophiles and others who think they can exploit children with impunity should be on notice, ICE Homeland Security Investigations will do everything in its power and use every tool at our disposal to track you down and see you brought to justice."