Ecuadorian migrant sentenced to 7 years for possession of child pornography
A federal court in Del Rio, Texas, on Wednesday sentenced an Ecuadorian national to 84 months in prison and five years of probation for possession of child pornography. The sentencing of the 27-year-old migrant from Cuenca Provincia, Azuay, Ecuador follows a bench trial in July 2021 where the court found him guilty of possession of a large number of pornographic images involving child sexual abuse .
Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended Ramiro Helibuerto Cuenca-Campos near Brackettville, Texas, in a failed attempt to smuggle migrants, according to court documents. At the time of his arrest, Border Patrol agents discovered explicit images involving children on his cellphone. A subsequent forensic analysis of his mobile phone revealed over 2,000 images containing child sexual abuse material.
Prosecutors charged Cuenca in federal court for his possession of the materials. On July 27, 2021, United States Chief District Judge Alia Moses found Cuenca-Campos guilty following a bench trial. The Ecuadorian migrant has remained in federal custody since his arrest on March 10, 2020. In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Cuenca-Campos to pay $18,000 in restitution to the victims and $200 in special assessments. Chief Justice Moses also ordered the confiscation of her phone.
“This defendant traveled from Ecuador and crossed the border into our country with a sickening amount of child sexual exploitation material on his cell phone,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. “Fortunately, our federal border enforcement partners disrupted a human smuggling operation and conducted their routine procedures, searching this individual and his phone when they apprehended him. This case reinforces that, like our policies against drugs and guns, which non-citizens sometimes try to bring into the United States, we will not tolerate anyone bringing material that sexually exploits and harms children.
“Those who receive and possess child pornography participate in the victimization of children whose innocence can never be restored,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig S. Larrabee for the ICE Homeland Security Investigations Division of San Antonio. “These criminals also pose a threat to the public safety of our communities. For these reasons, child exploitation cases are a top priority for HSI, and we will continue to work closely with our federal partners to ensure they are caught, prosecuted, and ultimately deported from the United States.
HSI and USBP investigated the case, which was sparked as part of the Safe Childhood Project – a nationwide initiative to address the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, officials said. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the CEO, Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims, the statement continued. .
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief of Law Enforcement Operations, directing the operations of nine Border Patrol Stations in the Del Rio, Texas area. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.