HOUSTON—Cruz Michael Hernandez has been sentenced to 78 months in federal prison without parole to be followed by a life term of supervised release, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Hernandez, 23, was convicted of distributing and possessing child pornography Jan. 4, 2011, after pleading guilty to both federal offenses and was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Keith Ellison this morning. The charges against Hernandez were the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Innocent Images Unit of the Houston FBI, which focuses its attention on investigating offenses involving the exploitation of children via the Internet. Hernandez’s activities were discovered when he posted images containing child pornography to a MySpace page. These same images were found on his computer when it was seized by law enforcement.
The court has ordered Hernandez to register as a sex offender and imposed a number of special conditions designed to protect the children and prohibit the use of the Internet with which he must comply during his life term of supervised release or face revocation and yet another prison term for violating those conditions.
Hernandez has been in federal custody since his May 2010 arrest and will remain in custody opening transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility where he will serve out his sentence.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov .
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack.