Federal Jury Finds Albuquerque Man Guilty on Production of Child Pornography Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 27, 2014|
ALBUQUERQUE—Late this afternoon, a federal jury returned a verdict finding Antonio Gutierrez, 44, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, guilty on three production of child pornography charges after a five-day trial. The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Albuquerque Police Chief Allen Banks.
In announcing the jury’s verdict, Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough said, “The jury’s verdict clearly demonstrates that this community will not tolerate predatory acts like the ones carried out by Antonio Gutierrez. Rather than provide the trusting, protective environment the child living in his home deserved, Mr. Gutierrez instead sexually exploited her. He must now face the full consequences of the law for his actions.”
Gutierrez was arrested in August 2012 based on a criminal complaint alleging that he induced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. Gutierrez subsequently was charged with three counts of production of child pornography in a superseding indictment alleging that he committed the offenses between August 2011 and November 2011 in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.
Trial against Gutierrez began on January 21, 2014, where the victim testified that in May 2011, Gutierrez gave her a cellphone on her 16th birthday and told her that he would pay for the first month of service. In June 2011, Gutierrez told the victim that he would pay the cellphone service bill if she repaid him with nude photographs of herself. The victim used her cellphone to take two photographs of her without clothes and sent the images to Gutierrez’s cellphone.
The victim testified that this began a monthly cycle of Gutierrez refusing to pay for her cellphone service unless she provided nude photographs of herself. With each passing month, Gutierrez escalated the nature and extent of the sexual conduct in which the victim was required to engage when photographed. For example, On August 1, 2011, Gutierrez demanded to be in the photographs and took photographs as he posed nude next to and on top of the nude victim. On August 2, 2011, Gutierrez positioned the victim in sexually explicit poses before taking photographs of her. And on September 26, 2011, Gutierrez took photographs after positioning his genitals against the victim’s genitals.
In November 2011, after the victim reported Gutierrez’s unlawful conduct to the Albuquerque Police Department, officers executed a search warrant at Gutierrez’s residence and seized computers, computer-related media, and cellphones. A subsequent forensic examination of Gutierrez’s personal computer revealed many sexually explicit photographs, including sexually explicit photographs of the victim taken by Gutierrez.
Gutierrez took the stand in his own defense and denied that he produced any child pornography as alleged in the superseding indictment. Gutierrez also claimed that he did not know how the child pornography ended up on his computer. The jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning a verdict of guilty on each of the three counts of the superseding indictment.
Gutierrez is in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Gutierrez faces a mandatory 15 and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee stated, “Few crimes that the FBI investigates are as heartbreaking as the production of child pornography. We hope this verdict sends a clear signal to anyone who would endanger our children’s innocence by committing this crime: we are looking for you, we will find you, and we will make sure you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I thank the FBI special agents and New Mexico Regional Computer Forensics Lab staff who worked so diligently on this case, along with the Albuquerque Police Department.”
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Field Office of the FBI, the Albuquerque Police Department, and the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer M. Rozzoni and Marisa A. Lizarraga are prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc/.
The Operation also was brought as a part of the New Mexico ICAC Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 75 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies associated with the ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the NMAGO. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.