This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of the Webb County Sheriff's Department.
On Monday, Jorge Valadez, 53, a Laredo high school teacher, was charged by U.S. Magistrate Judge Guillermo R. Garcia with receiving and distributing child pornography via the Internet. Valadez was detained without bond pending further criminal proceedings. His detention hearing is set for Thursday.
According to the criminal complaint, an investigator discovered someone sharing several videos constituting child pornography via the Internet. The investigation allegedly led to the home of Valadez in Laredo. Federal agents then obtained and executed a search warrant on Friday evening, at which time, he was taken into custody.
Valadez allegedly used a peer-to-peer network to share images and videos of child pornography.
If convicted, Valadez faces a minimum of five and up to 40 years in federal prison as well as a maximum fine of $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
The 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.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.