Last Thursday, U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggsoday announced that U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan sentenced a Sulphur Springs man to 20 years in federal prison for child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
Hugo Enrique Menchaca, 42, pleaded guilty to transportation of child pornography and misuse of a Social Security number and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan on August 10, 2023.
According to information presented in court, Menchaca came to the attention of the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office in August 2020 when a social media company reported that a user had been uploading child pornography onto their platform. HCSO initiated an investigation, which ultimately led to Menchaca. They found hundreds of files of child pornography on three digital devices Menchaca owned, as well as two different online platforms. Menchaca admitted in court that he traded child pornography with others and did so to receive additional and new child pornography. He also revealed that child pornography depicted prepubescent minors, sadistic or masochistic conduct, or other depictions of violence.
During HCSO’s investigation, they determined that Menchaca did not have legal status in the United States and used the Social Security number assigned to another individual. Menchaca used the SSN to obtain employment, credit, and some services, knowing that the SSN did not give the number to him and that he was not entitled to use it.
In addition to his prison sentence, the court ordered Menchaca to pay restitution resulting from his misuse of the Social Security number. After completing his sentence, Menchaca will face immigration hearings about his status in the United States.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood. It is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate better, 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 investigated by Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa J. Miller.