This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance and support of the Corpus Christi Police Department's (CCPD) Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).
Jose Gutierrez III, 21, was sentenced to 80 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack. Gutierrez will also have to pay a $5,000 fine to a known victim of the child pornography series he possessed. In handing down the sentence, Judge Jack noted that Gutierrez has been interested in child pornography since he was 15 years old, accounting for most of his teenage and adult life. Gutierrez was further ordered to serve the rest of his life on supervised release after he completes his prison term; he must also register as a sex offender. Gutierrez pleaded guilty to the charges Nov. 8, 2013.
"Possessing and sharing child pornography is not a victimless crime" said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "Anyone who possesses or shares child pornography continues the cycle of child sexual exploitation that began when those images were taken."
On Nov. 3, 2012, HSI special agents identified an Internet user that was making files of suspected child pornography available to others. That person was ultimately identified as Gutierrez who lived in Corpus Christi.
HSI special agents and CCPD-ICAC officers executed a federal search warrant at Gutierrez's residence. During the execution of this search warrant, Gutierrez admitted using the Internet to acquire images of child pornography. He stated that his interest in child pornography had begun several years prior and that he had continued to engage in this behavior despite knowing it was illegal. Several computers and other electronic storage devices were seized from Gutierrez which contained numerous images of child pornography.
Previously released on bond, Gutierrez was taken into custody where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
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 10,000 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 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
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. 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.
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.