HSI Del Rio investigation leads to teen mentor, faculty tutor sentenced 18 years on youngster pornography fees

DEL RIO, Texas — A Texas man was sentenced to prison for receipt and distribution of child pornography following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Oscar Barrera, 29, was sentenced Jan. 9 to 220 months in prison. Barrera pleaded guilty April 4, 2022, to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography.

According to court documents, Barrera mentored at-risk teens, worked as a tutor in the Del Rio school system, and served as a youth counselor at church retreats. On June 17, 2021, HSI conducted a search warrant on Barrera’s residence and confiscated his cell phone, which had more than 1,100 images and nearly 700 videos of child sexual abuse material.

“The heavy sentence imposed on Mr. Barrera sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who exploit children in any way,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee of HSI San Antonio. “HSI agents make it a top priority to protect children from victimization by working to investigate predators involved with the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material and ensure they are held accountable for their heinous actions. HSI will continue to dedicate our resources to identify these individuals and bring them to justice.”

“It’s unsettling when you learn that someone working so closely with our children and in our communities can possess such predatory tendencies,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas. “Thanks to our federal agency partners like Homeland Security Investigations, we are able to ensure these sexual abusers can no longer prey on our children.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rex Beasley and Tyler Fleming, Western District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free tip line at 866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock. From outside the United States and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users may call TTY 802-872-6196.

HSI takes a victim-centered approach to child exploitation investigations by working to identify, rescue and stabilize victims. HSI works in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), Internet Crimes Against Children partners, and other federal, state, and local agencies to help solve cases and rescue sexually exploited children. You can report suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children to NCMEC’s toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

One of HSI’s top priorities is to protect the public from crimes of victimization, and HSI’s child exploitation investigations program is a central component of this mission set. Further, HSI is recognized as a global leader in this investigative discipline. The directorate is committed to utilizing its vast authorities, international footprint and strong government and nongovernment partnerships to identify and rescue child victims; identify and apprehend offenders; prevent transnational child sexual abuse; and help make the internet a safer place for children.

HSI, a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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