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Child Exploitation

West Texas man pleads guilty to receiving child pornography

MIDLAND, Texas — A local man faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to receiving child pornography. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents investigated this case.

Francisco Jose Cantu, 27, of Andrews, Texas, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Counts Monday and admitted that in October 2012 he received images of child pornography via the Internet.

According to court documents, Cantu also admitted he distributed images of child pornography via the Internet. On Nov. 29, HSI special agents executed a search warrant at Cantu's residence and seized several computer devices. A forensics examination of the seized items revealed more than 600 images of child pornography.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Austin Berry, Western District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI 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 1-866-347-2423 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, 1-800-843-5678.

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.