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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. South Texas Resident Sentenced for Using Snapchat to Entice Minor Following Investigation

South Texas Resident Sentenced for Using Snapchat to Entice Minor Following HSI RGV Child Exploitation Task Force Investigation

Release Date: May 16, 2024

McALLEN, Texas — A Mexican citizen who resided in Edinburg was sent to prison for coercion and enticement of a minor following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Child Exploitation Task Force.

Santos Emilio Marcial-Castro, 31, was sentenced by a federal judge May 15 to 120 months in prison. The sentence will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his sentence. At the hearing, the court noted that despite the likelihood of his removal from the country, he still needed to follow all the conditions imposed on him and not re-enter the country illegally. Marcial-Castro pleaded guilty Aug. 29, 2023.

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

According to court documents, in April 2023, law enforcement officials discovered numerous conversations between Marcial-Castro and a then-15-year-old minor. The investigation revealed he had been communicating with the victim from May 2021 to April 2023 via Snapchat. Marcial-Castro was aware the victim was a minor. During their initial conversations, the child told him about her upcoming 14th birthday. Over the course of the next two years, Marcial-Castro sent sexually explicit messages to the victim and enticed the minor to send nude images on multiple occasions. He also told her about his desire to have sex with minors and specifically requested nude photos of the victim’s genitals.

Marcial-Castro will remain 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 M. Alexis Garcia prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. Callers may remain anonymous.

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: 05/20/2024
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