03/16/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/16/2023 08:32
DEL RIO, Texas - An Ecuadorian national was sentenced in federal court in Del Rio Wednesday to 84 months in prison and five years of supervised release for possession of child sexual abuse material.
According to court documents, Ramiro Helibuerto Cuenca-Campos, 27, of Cuenca Provincia, Azuay, Ecuador was apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents near Brackettville during a failed human smuggling attempt. A forensic analysis of his cell phone revealed more than 2,000 images containing child sexual abuse material.
Chief U.S. District Judge Alia Moses found Cuenca-Campos guilty after a bench trial on July 27, 2021. He has remained in federal custody since his arrest on March 10, 2020. In addition to the prison sentence, Cuenca-Campos was ordered to pay $18,000 in restitution to the victims and $200 in special assessments. Chief Judge Moses also ordered forfeiture of his phone.
"This defendant traveled from Ecuador and crossed the border into our country with a sickening amount of child sexual abuse material on his cell phone," said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. "Thankfully, our federal law enforcement partners at the border disrupted a human smuggling operation and conducted their routine procedures, searching this individual and his phone when they detained him. This case reinforces the fact that, much like our policies against the drugs and firearms that noncitizens occasionally try to bring into the U.S., we will not tolerate anyone bringing in material that sexually exploits and harms children."
"Individuals 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 Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio Division. "These criminals also represent a public safety threat to our communities. For those 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 arrested, prosecuted, and ultimately removed from the United States."
HSI and USBP investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rex Beasley prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.