April 13, 2015

Houston Man Sentenced for Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography

HOUSTON—Michael Brandon Garza, 33, has been ordered to prison following his convictions for receiving and possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Garza pleaded guilty Sept. 2, 2014.

Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. handed Garza 168 and 120 months for the receipt and possession convictions, respectively. The sentences will run concurrently. Garza will serve 15 years of supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the Internet. Garza will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

Garza is considered a savvy computer user. He admitted he utilized multiple e-mail addresses and online identities to communicate with underage females and obtain child pornography images and videos via the Internet. Specifically, he contacted underage females in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, both of whom believed Garza was a teenager.

Garza was identified during the investigation and law enforcement subsequently executed a search warrant at his Houston residence on Dec. 11, 2012. At that time, Garza acknowledged the e-mail address that law enforcement had received from the underage girls and that he had he had received videos containing child pornography.

Several electronic media devises were seized which resulted in the discovery of numerous images/videos.

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

The charges against Garza were the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Houston Area Cyber Crimes Task Force of the FBI, which focuses its attention on, among other things, investigating offenses involving the exploitation of children via the Internet.

This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack, was brought as 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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, 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 www.projectsafechildhood.gov.