PLANO – A Sulphur Springs, Texas man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs today.
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 lead to Menchaca. Hundreds of files of child pornography were found 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 that he did so in order to receive additional, and new child pornography. He also admitted that the child pornography depicted prepubescent minors, as well as sadistic or masochistic conduct, or other depictions of violence.
During HCSO’s investigation, it was determined that Menchaca did not have legal status in the United States and that he was using the Social Security number that had been assigned to another individual. Menchaca used the SSN in order to obtain employment, credit, and some services, knowing that the SSN had not been assigned to him and that he was not entitled to use it.
In addition to his prison sentence, Menchaca was also ordered to pay restitution resulting from his misuse of the Social Security number. Following the completion of his sentence, Menchaca will face immigration hearings related to his status in the United States.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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 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.
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.