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Child Exploitation

US-Mexican law enforcement cooperation results in 29 year prison sentence for child pornographer

MEXICO CITY — A Mexican federal judge has sentenced a Mexican man to 29 years in federal prison for possession, transmission and production of child pornography. This sentence is the longest ever issued in Mexico on child pornography charges. The sentence is the result of an extensive investigation conducted by Mexico's Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) and Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR), with the assistance of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Mauro Rodrigo Hernandez of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, was sentenced May 6, 2012. He was also fined $15,755 (207,900 pesos). The investigation that discovered Hernandez was conducted by a bilateral cyber task force with members from SSP, PGR and HSI.

On August 31, 2011, special agents assigned to HSI Mexico City received information from the Cyber Tip Line of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding an email account that had been transmitting child pornography and using cloud technology to store the images. After obtaining the relevant information from the Internet service provider based in the United States, HSI provided this data to SSP's cyber unit, which was able to determine that Hernandez was the account subscriber.

On Nov. 22, 2011, SSP officers executed a search warrant at his residence and discovered child pornography on digital media found in the residence. SSP officers arrested him on child pornography charges. Law enforcement later discovered that Hernandez abused two children and transmitted those images over the Internet.

The Mexican Attorney General's Office, through the Special Prosecutor for Crimes of Violence against Women and Trafficking in Persons, carried out the investigation and took legal action with a federal judge who handed down the sentence April 30.

"This operation is an example of the good work being done by Homeland Security's ICE officials in cooperation with Mexican law enforcement counterparts – to protect children," said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne. "We take our responsibility to protect our children seriously, and this case is a prime example of how cooperation can bring real results."

HSI's ongoing efforts to target suspects involved in child exploitation offenses are part of Operation Predator, an 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-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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.