- Category: Crime
- Created on Friday, 29 March 2013 18:19
San Diego, California - Daphne Hearn, Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego FBI Field Office, announces the arrest of Samuel Farinas Fernandez, Jr., age 32, of San Diego, California, on federal child pornography and enticement of a minor charges.
Fernandez was arrested Thursday, March 28, 2013, at approximately 10:40 a.m., near a hotel in the Mission Valley area. Fernandez was taken into custody by law enforcement officers from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and the San Diego Police Department. Fernandez was arrested without incident. Fernandez allegedly arrived at the hotel to meet with a woman and participate in the molestation of two children. The woman was actually an undercover FBI agent.
According to the criminal complaint filed in this matter with the United States District Court, Southern District of California, Fernandez is charged with violating Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 2252(a)(2), distribution of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2256(2), enticement of a minor.
According to the complaint, in September 2012, the Cleveland FBI Field Office was conducting an investigation into an individual trading and receiving child pornography identified as William J. DeClark IV, age 32. DeClark was allegedly actively involved in trading child pornography images with others on a Russian image-hosting website.
On October 24, 2012, a federal search warrant was executed at DeClark’s residence and DeClark was interviewed. DeClark admitted to receiving and trading child pornography with various individuals and admitted to having inappropriate physical contact with two minor females that lived near him. A review of DeClark’s e-mail accounts showed prolific trading of child pornography images with over 100 e-mail users. Samuel Fernandez, of San Diego, California, was identified as a person who had sent child pornography to DeClark. The child pornography included three videos depicting the sexual molestation of very young children.
In an effort to further identify others actively involved in the trafficking of child pornography, DeClark’s e-mail account was taken over by law enforcement. Law enforcement received more child pornography images from Fernandez, who was unaware that law enforcement had taken over DeClark’s account. As communications between Fernandez and the takeover account continued, Fernandez expressed an interest in being involved in the molestation of children. Fernandez initially stated that he would participate in photographing and/or videotaping the acts and later stated he wanted to participate in the molestation. Fernandez agreed to meet in San Diego to participate in the molestation of a 1-year-old boy and 6-year-old female child.
On Thursday, March 28, 2013 at approximately 10:40 a.m., Fernandez was arrested for the attempted enticement of a minor as he arrived at a local San Diego hotel to engage in the previously discussed activity. Fernandez was interviewed by FBI agents, at which time he confessed to being involved in the distribution of child pornography and he was there to participate in the molestation of children.
Fernandez was subsequently booked into the Bureau of Prisons, Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he will remain pending his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on or about Friday, March 29, 2013. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California.
This investigation was conducted under the FBI’s Innocent Images National Initiative (IINI) in coordination with the Internet Crimes Children (ICAC) Task Force. The mission of the FBI’s IINI is to reduce the vulnerability of children to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse that are facilitated through the use of computers; to identify and rescue child victims; to investigate and prosecute sexual predators who use the Internet and other online services to sexually exploit children for personal or financial gain; and to strengthen the capabilities of federal, state, local, and international law enforcement through training programs and investigative assistance.
Since its inception, the IINI program has continued to grow exponentially, seeing an increase from approximately 80 pending cases in fiscal year 2001 to approximately 5,900 through fiscal year 2012. Also between the years of 2001 to 2011, the IINI program has recorded over 11,000 arrests, over 10,000 informations and indictments and over 11,400 convictions.
The ICAC program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies involved in proactive investigations targeting those involved in the sexual exploitation of children via the Internet and other online communication systems. ICAC Task Forces are funded by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
An arrest warrant itself is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.