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May 5, 2017Lubbock, TX, United StatesChild Exploitation

West Texas man sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison on child pornography and cyberstalking convictions

LUBBOCK, Texas — A West Texas man was sentenced Friday by Senior U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 148 months in federal prison for stalking and possessing child pornography.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the San Angelo (Texas) Police Department, and the Fluvanna County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office.

According to documents filed in the case, between Oct. 30, 2015 and Nov. 7, 2015, Rodrigo Ramiro Menchaca, 27, of San Angelo, Texas, engaged in a series of communications with a girl who resided in Virginia. Menchaca used a mobile application called Kik to communicate with the girl. During these Kik communications, Menchaca sent the girl various photographs that she had posted on other social networking accounts. The photographs were not sexual in nature, but were sent by Menchaca to the girl with the false representation that they had been shared with Menchaca by the girl’s father. Menchaca’s messages to the girl were sexually explicit.

In addition, between Aug. 4, 2012 and Oct. 28, 2016, Menchaca placed material on a thumb drive which he knew constituted images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He kept that thumb drive in his possession.

Menchaca pleaded guilty in January 2017 to one count of stalking and one count of possessing prepubescent child pornography.

“Victimizing someone, particularly a child, from one’s computer may seem easy and low-risk,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “But my office will do everything in our power to raise the cost to those who engage in such despicable behavior.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy was in charge of the prosecution.

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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app.

Updated: 04/06/2021