Weslaco man gets 8 years in prison for possession of child pornography

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A 38-year-old Mexican national living in Weslaco has been ordered to federal prison after it was discovered he was downloading child sex abuse material using a peer-to-peer file sharing program between 2021 and 2023, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Southern District of Texas.

U.S. District Chief Judge Randy Crane sentenced Jose Arturo Barrera-Torres, who pleaded guilty on June 30, to over eight years in prison Thursday. Barrera-Torres was also ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution to the victims.

The court heard information regarding Barrera-Torres downloading the illegal pornography, including victim impact statements detailing the turmoil and fear victims feel due to their abuse being continuously circulated online.

The USAO said in the release that Barrera-Torres received, watched and deleted child pornography from a peer-to-peer platform from 2021 to February 2023.

“Between Sept. 12-Oct. 14, 2021, authorities conducted an investigation on a peer-to-peer sharing platform for offenders sharing child pornography,” the release said. “Law enforcement identified a computer downloading videos of child pornography connecting the IP address to a location in Weslaco.”

Authorities contacted Barrera-Torres on Feb. 16, 2023, at that residence where he admitted to using a peer-to-peer file sharing program to download and watch videos containing CSAM and stated he deleted the files.

He received and downloaded around 80 to 100 videos of child pornography from 2021 and 2022, with the most downloads in February.

On his laptop, law enforcement discovered 31 videos and 83 images of CSAM with the ages of the victims ranging from over 3 to under 12.

Barrera-Torres was also ordered to register as a sex offender and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility and because he isn’t a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment.