Friday, March 4, 2016
McALLEN, Texas – Raul Casarez, 35, of Weslaco, has been ordered to prison following his conviction on one count of production of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) - San Antonio. Casarez pleaded guilty Sep. 21, 2010.
Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa imposed a 20-year sentence which will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. The court also ordered a total of $9,500 in restitution for all of the identified victims in the case. Additionally, Casarez will be ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
At a previous hearing, the court heard testimony concerning the familial relationship the defendant had to the victims involved in the child pornography production. Testimony established that Casarez sexually exploited four young relatives that considered him to be the “fun” relative. Furthermore, the court heard how the defendant had preyed on his younger relatives for several years dating back to the mid-90s and up until the date of his arrest in 2009.
On Sept. 30, 2009, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an Internet investigation to identify persons using peer-to peer software to traffic in child pornography and soon discovered a specific computer as offering to participate in the distribution of child pornography movies. Casarez was identified as the person linked to that computer.
Agents executed a search warrant of his residence and seized computers and various external storage media. The forensic examination of the items revealed more than 4,000 child pornographic images and more than 400 child pornographic movies of clearly young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The images include children under the age of 12, bondage and acts of violence. Some of the images are of known victims as identified through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Casarez admitted he downloaded child pornography from the Internet and that he was in possession of child pornography on his computer.
The forensic examination also revealed three photographs or visual depictions of a young pre-pubescent girl stored on the computer’s hard drive. The photographs depicted her in a pose considered to be sexually explicit conduct.
The pictures were taken by a Samsung cell phone and uploaded to Casarez’s computer.
This case, investigated by HSI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ann Leo, Juan Alanis, and Alex Benavides, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas
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