El Paso man sentenced to 10 years in prison in federal child exploitation charge

EL PASO, Texas - A 44-year-old El Paso man pleaded guilty Wednesday to online enticement of a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity.

Juan Carlos Hernandez entered the guilty plea in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M.

Hernandez will be sentenced to10 years in federal prison to be followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court under the terms of his plea agreement. 

He also will be required to register as a sex offender.

Hernandez was arrested on Feb. 28, 2014, by HSI on a criminal complaint alleging that he engaged in the online solicitation of a child under the age of 16 years between Sept. 2012 and June 2013. 

The criminal complaint also charged Hernandez with traveling from El Paso to Anthony, N.M., in June 2013, with the intention of having illicit sexual contact with a child under the age of 16 years.

The court filings stated Hernandez met the child victim on an Internet social networking website in Sept. 2012, and the two began communicating regularly by text messaging in May 2013.

Hernandez was arrested on state charges in June 22, 2013, after deputies of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office found him with the child victim at a park in Anthony, N.M.

In July 2013, HSI obtained federal search warrants for the cellphones seized from Hernandez and the child victim. 

Information obtained through the search warrants revealed that Hernandez engaged in sexually explicit communication with the child victim and that he was aware the child victim was under the age of 16. It was also revealed that Hernandez told the girl he was 17, 18, and 22 years old at various times.

Hernandez admitted in his plea agreement to intentionally enticing underage females online to engage in illegal sexual activity with him between Sept. 1, 2012 and June 22, 2013, by using a social account which he accessed with his cellphone and computer. 

Hernandez also admitted telling minor females that he was 18-years-old. 

Hernandez specifically admitted engaging in multiple sexually explicit conversations with a 13-year-old girl.

Hernandez has been in custody since his arrest and remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

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