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November 1, 2016Del Rio, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

Southwest Texas sentenced to 9 years in federal prison for receiving and distributing child pornography

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A southwest Texas man was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in federal prison for receiving and distributing child pornography.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin, Western District of Texas. This investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Daniel Vicuna, 21, from Del Rio, Texas, pleaded guilty to the charges Dec. 11, 2015, and was sentenced Oct. 26 by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses to 109 months imprisonment.

“These HSI investigations help protect children by taking child predators off the internet and off the streets by putting them behind bars," said Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio. "Targeting these crimes against children is a high priority for HSI. We will continue to dedicate our law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice child predators who traumatize and victimize children."

According to court documents, on May 27, 2015, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Vicuna's residence in Del Rio. During the search, HSI seized various electronics that included a few laptops. A forensic analysis of the electronic items seized revealed numerous images of child pornography.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Western 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 14,000 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 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

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.