A federal grand jury has returned a seven-count indictment charging Jacob Aniceto Jose Villarreal, 29, of Brownwood, with various felony child pornography offenses.
Specifically, the indictment charges Villarreal with one count of production of child pornography, four counts of receipt of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography.
Villarreal has been in federal custody since his arrest on June 25 on related charges outlined in a criminal complaint. Thursday's announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
The indictment alleges that in March 2013, Villarreal induced a minor male to engage in sexually explicit conduct while he recorded the conduct. The indictment further alleges that on four occasions, from October 2012 through May 2013, Villarreal received visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment also charges Villarreal with possessing images of child pornography on two occasions from April 2010 to June 25, 2013.
On June 25, 2013, agents with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a federal search warrant at Villarreal’s home and five computers, two telephones and three thumb drives were found. Brown County Sheriff's deputies assisted.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, the production count carries a maximum statutory penalty of not less than 15 years or more than 30 years in federal prison. Each of the receipt counts carries a maximum statutory penalty of not less than five or more than 20 years in federal prison and each of the possession counts carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
In addition, upon conviction, each count carries a maximum statutory fine of $250,000 and up to a lifetime of supervised release.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
The investigation was conducted by ICE HSI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Sucsy is in charge of the prosecution.