Texas college student pleads guilty to possession of child pornography after HSI investigation
MCALLEN, Texas — A South Texas college student pleaded guilty March 21 to possession of child sexual abuse material following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force investigation.
Israel Flores Jr., 21, of Los Fresnos, appeared before a federal judge and admitted to possessing child sexual abuse material on a flash drive he obtained while he was a student at the University of Texas.
According to court documents, Flores downloaded the child sexual abuse material via Kik and stored it on a flash drive for easier distribution. He then gave the device to another person. Flores acknowledged being the original owner of the flash drive and that it had been in his possession for many years prior to giving it to someone else.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo accepted the plea and set sentencing for June 21. Flores faces up to 20 years in federal prison. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eliza Carmen Rodriguez 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 by investigators. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should 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 (NCMEC), ICAC partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to NCMEC’s toll-free 24-hour hotline, 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.
One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline, and is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and nongovernment partnerships to identify and rescue child victims, identify, and apprehend offenders, prevent transnational child sexual abuse, and help make the internet a safer place for children.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), 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’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.