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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. Traveler Caught With Child Sexual Abuse Material Sentenced to 8 Years

Traveler Caught With Child Sexual Abuse Material Sentenced to 8 Years Following HSI Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force, Federal Partner Investigation

Release Date: April 16, 2024

McALLEN, Texas — A Mexican citizen was sentenced to eight years for transporting child sexual abuse material following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Rio Grande Valley’s Child Exploitation Task Force with help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Luis Alberto Hernandez-Venegas, 40, was sentenced April 15 to 97 months in federal prison. He will serve five years on supervised release after completing his prison term. Hernandez-Venegas must also register as a sex offender, and as a non-U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings.

“HSI works relentlessly with our law enforcement partners at all levels to ensure child predators face justice for their unspeakable crimes,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “This sentence reaffirms our commitment to protecting the innocence of our most vulnerable from child exploitation.”

At Hernandez-Venegas’ hearing, prosecutors presented evidence that he knowingly joined a Telegram group well-known for distributing child sexual abuse material. From this Telegram chat, he possessed 25 videos of child sexual abuse, which equated to approximately 1,875 images. In handing down the sentence, District Court Judge Randy Crane noted that Hernandez helped to provide for a family in Mexico with the intention of engaging in a relationship with their teenage child. Hernandez-Venegas pleaded guilty Nov. 30, 2023.

According to court documents, on Sept. 26, 2023, Hernandez-Venegas attempted to enter the United States from Mexico at the Donna Port of Entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection referred him to secondary inspection, where a preliminary consensual search of his phone revealed images of child sexual abuse. Law enforcement reviewed the phone’s contents and found multiple images, videos and chat messages depicting child sexual abuse, including those of prepubescent and pubescent boys performing sexually explicit acts. Hernandez-Venegas acknowledged communicating with boys between the ages of 15 and 17. He also admitted to being in a relationship with a 15-year-old boy who resides in Mexico and identified images of the boy on his cellphone. He said he knowingly and intentionally possessed, received and viewed child sexual abuse material.

Hernandez-Venegas remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Alexa D. Parcell prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, ICAC partners, and other federal, state and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. You can report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 800-THE-LOST.

HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline. The directorate is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and nongovernment partnerships to identify and rescue child victims; identify and apprehend offenders; prevent transnational child sexual abuse; and help make the internet a safer place for children.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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