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Franklin County Man Indicted For Child Exploitation

TYLER, Texas – The Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney Brit Featherstone says the court indicted a Mount Vernon man on federal child exploitation charges.

Zachary Arzola, also known as Zachary Castenada, 26, was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 19, 2023, charging him with coercion and enticement of a minor, traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and transportation of a child with a plan to engage in criminal sexual activity.

According to the indictment, from December 2022 until January 9, 2023, Arzola allegedly used the Internet, social media, and messaging applications to coerce a minor into engaging in illegal sexual conduct. Additionally, in December 2022, Arzola allegedly traveled from Texas to Ohio to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child. Finally, in January 2023, transported a minor across state lines to engage in criminal sexual activity. If convicted, Arzola faces up to life in federal prison.

This case is 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 and abuse. The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS); Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources lead this effort to locate better, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet. It also helps to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Texas Department of Public Safety – CID, the Mount Vernon Police Department, and the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Hornok is the prosecutor.