FBI charges Pharr woman with distribution of child pornography

The FBI has arrested a 25-year-old Pharr woman that the agency says shared child pornography in a chatroom called “Hurtcore STR” on the messaging application Kik.

Agents arrested Sarah Elisea Rubio on Monday on a charge of distributing child pornography following the execution of a search warrant at her Pharr residence, court records indicate.

The investigation into Rubio began on March 22 after the San Antoinio FBI field office notified the McAllen office that it identified Rubio during an investigation that is strategically targeting people who use social media to distribute child pornography, according to a criminal complaint.

During that investigation, an FBI agent was actively monitoring the chatroom and identified a user by the handle “bmthgirl17,” who was actively posting there and who posted a video depicting child pornography, also referred to as child sexual abuse material, according to the FBI.

The complaint says the agent engaged in a private message with “bmthgirl17,” who said they posted the video to the group for new members who recently joined the chatroom.

This happened on April 3, 2020, according to the complaint.

“The video ‘bmthgirl17’ shared to the group is approximately 1:36 long and depicts a prepubescent child and an adult male. In the video the adult male is engaged in sexually assaulting the minor child,” the complaint states.

The FBI filed a subpoena with Kik for the subscriber information related to “bmthgirl17,” which returned an email address and cellular device that the FBI linked to Rubio, according to the complaint.

The FBI also was able to identify multiple social media accounts linked to Rubio and recovered photos the FBI says depict Rubio.

During an interview with the FBI, Rubio identified those social media accounts and photos, as well as the cellphone and email as all belonging to her, according to the FBI.

“Rubio admitted to having a social media account to access the previously discussed chatroom, but stated, ‘I deleted that a long time ago,'” the complaint states.

When confronted about the chatroom and the social media account, the FBI says Rubio’s demeanor changed.

“Agents had not revealed any information of the true nature of the questioning or referenced (child sexual abuse material), but Rubio stated she may need a lawyer,” the complaint states. “Agents asked Rubio if they needed to worry about any of her family member’s children and she insisted she did not touch her family member’s children.”

Rubio did not consent to make a first appearance Monday morning in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker via video-conferencing.

She is scheduled to appear in person in McAllen federal court Tuesday morning to make a first appearance on the charge, court records indicate.

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