Panama child pornography investigation leads to sentencing of young man

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – An 18-year-old Brownsville man has been ordered to federal prison for possessing nearly 10,000 of images and videos of child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Irbenis Mederos Jr. pleaded guilty April 27.

Today, U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez ordered him to serve a 168-month sentence to be immediately followed by 10 years of supervised release. The court considered statements from many victims describing the trauma they’ve endured. In handing down the sentence, Judge Rodriguez additionally ordered that $36,000 in restitution be paid and divided equally amongst the 12 victims who requested restitution.

On Sep. 28, 2020, authorities discovered the sexual exploitation of a minor child via social media. It was determined she was an eight-year-old U.S. citizen residing in Panama.

The investigation led to an IP address in Brownsville belonging to Mederos. Law enforcement conducted a search at his residence and seized a cellphone. Forensic analysis resulted in the discovery of 1,229 images and 110 videos of child pornography, approximately 55 of which were of the minor female in Panama. Several others also depicted child pornography involving infants and toddlers.

Mederos will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Panama conducted the investigation along with HSI-Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigation Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nikki Piquette is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page

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