BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A 37-year old Harlingen man was sentenced here Monday to more than five years in federal prison without parole for using his computer to receive child pornography. This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle, Southern District of Texas; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation.
Samuel Jason Diaz, of Harlingen, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to 63 months in federal prison, without parole, to be followed by lifetime of supervised release for receiving child pornography. Diaz pleaded guilty to the offense in February 2008.
ICE agents proved Diaz was purchasing and downloading videos and images containing child pornography from various websites. A forensic examination of Diaz' computers revealed he had 662 videos and more than 2,272 images of sexually explicit child pornography purchased and downloaded from Internet websites.
Diaz has been permitted to remain on bond pending an order to surrender himself to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence on Sept. 4.
The court also ordered Diaz to attend sex offender treatment and to submit to a mental health evaluation while incarcerated. As conditions of his lifetime supervised release, Diaz will also be required to register as a sex offender and attend sex offender counseling (including polygraph testing). In addition, he cannot use Internet-capable computer devices, and cannot be within 100 feet of parks, schools and other places children congregate, among other conditions.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terra Bay and Joseph Leonard, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE 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. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals nationwide.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or www.cybertipline.com.