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  3. New Jersey Man Sentenced for Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material, Committing Naturalization Fraud Following HSI Newark Investigation

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material, Committing Naturalization Fraud Following HSI Newark Investigation

Release Date: May 28, 2024

NEWARK, N.J. — An investigation led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark resulted in a New Jersey man being sentenced May 22 to 121 months in prison for possessing images of child sexual abuse material and committing naturalization fraud.

Ramy Mercado, 29, of Jersey City, received the sentence from Judge Claire C. Cecchi in the District Court for the District of New Jersey. Mercado previously pleaded guilty before Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of naturalization fraud.

“Today’s sentencing of Ramy Mercado sends a clear message that HSI will do everything we can to protect children from dangerous predators who seek to exploit them for their own greed or self-gratification,” said HSI Newark acting Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker. “It is also troubling that Mercado thought he could defraud our nation’s legal immigration system by failing to disclose his desires to exploit children. HSI and our partner agencies will devote every resource available to investigating, prosecuting and convicting these criminals who prey upon our innocent youth.”

According to the investigation, from June 2022 to October 2022, Mercado used his cell phone to transmit more than 20 video files depicting the sexual abuse of minors, including infants or toddlers. Mercado also used his cell phone to communicate his desire for sexual encounters with young children.

During this time, Mercado applied for and obtained U.S. citizenship and stated under penalty of perjury that since his citizenship interview, he had not committed any crime or offense for which he had not been arrested. In fact, Mercado had illegally possessed child sexual abuse material. Mercado became a naturalized U.S. citizen on June 22, 2023.

In addition to the prison term, Cecchi sentenced Mercado to 15 years of supervised release.

HSI is at the forefront of the U.S. government’s efforts to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse through its investigations, victim assistance programs, intelligence and analysis, policy development, and training and awareness programs.

For any child, parent or guardian searching for resources and information on how to prevent and combat online child sexual exploitation, visit Know2Protect. If you suspect a child might be a victim, please call the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP.

Follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSINewark to learn more about HSI’s global missions and operations.

Last Updated: 05/28/2024
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