(STL.News) – A 31-year-old Mexican national has pleaded guilty to transportation of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
On Dec. 10, 2019, Edgar Arevalo-Lara entered the United States from Mexico through the Roma Port of Entry. There, he claimed he was travelling to Dallas for a month. However, authorities noticed he did not appear to have enough luggage or money with him to support his reported length of stay.
Upon further investigation, they discovered 53 images on his phone depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He admitted he downloaded child pornography from the internet and knew the images were graphic.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane accepted the plea and has set sentencing for Nov. 5. At that time, Arevalo-Lara faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years imprisonment and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina Pekkala prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims.