South Texan heads to prison for possessing nearly 1500 pornographic images of minors

Published 8:28 am Thursday, June 24, 2021

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 27-year-old Brownsville resident has been ordered to federal prison for possession of child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Alvaro Vega-Rodriguez pleaded guilty Feb. 4, 2020.

Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera Jr. ordered him to serve a 78-month sentence to be immediately followed by 20 years of supervised release during which he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He has also been ordered to register as a sex offender.

“These investigations serve as a reminder and warning to those who engage in perverse online behavior involving child exploitation,” said Deputy Special Agent in Charge Timothy Tubbs of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “This illegal activity will not be tolerated and those who are participating in it will be found and brought to justice.”

In May 2019, authorities launched an investigation targeting child pornography sharing on the internet. That led them to Vega-Rodriguez. The following month, they conducted a search at the residence and seized his computer. Forensic analysis on the computer later revealed approximately 1,488 images and 121 videos of child pornography.

Vega-Rodriguez was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

HSI’s Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ana C. Cano and Jose A. Esquivel, Jr. 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. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.