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March 29, 2024McAllen, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

Substitute teacher pleads guilty to exploiting minor following HSI Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force investigation

McALLEN, Texas — A South Texas man pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Rio Grande Valley’s Child Exploitation Task Force with the assistance of the York County Sheriff Office in South Carolina.

Juan Carlos Munoz, 42, of Mission, pleaded guilty March 29 before U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa.

According to court documents, Munoz met a 14-year-old girl from South Carolina on a social media and video chat site. He used a fake name, claimed to be a 19-year-old teenager, and requested nude photos and videos of the girl.

Local law enforcement in South Carolina were able to determine his identity and report the allegations to Texas authorities. On Dec. 16, 2022, officials located him at a local high school where he was employed as a substitute teacher. At that time, Munoz admitted to communicating with the girl and requesting sexually explicit photos.

Hinojosa will sentence Munoz July 19. At that time, Munoz faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison with a possible $250,000 fine.

Munoz remains in custody pending sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Garcia for the Southern District of Texas is prosecuting the case

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the United States and Canada, dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, ICAC partners, and other federal, state and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. You can report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 800-THE-LOST.

HSI is a founding member 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.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.