McALLEN, TEXAS — A 34-year-old Mercedes resident has been ordered to federal prison after admitting he intended to engage in sexual activity with a young female, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Jason Hernandez pleaded guilty Dec. 2, 2020.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced him to 140 months in federal prison. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that unlike many other crimes, Hernandez was not motivated by the desire to make money, instead by his own immoral purposes and desires. The court further noted Hernandez clearly intended to engage in sexual activity with a minor as he had arrived at the meeting location with condoms in his possession.
Hernandez was further ordered to serve 10 years on 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. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
“With ever increasing access to communication platforms, we must continue to stay a step ahead of those who exploit technology to facilitate some of the worst crimes in modern society. The defendant in this case will serve the next several years in prison for his unfathomable acts,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “ HSI will continue to dedicate law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice child predators who traumatize and victimize children.”
Between the months of August and September 2020, Hernandez enticed an individual he believed to be a 13-year-old female on a social media application. In their communications, Hernandez had graphically described sexual acts he desired to perform with the minor and expressed his desire to impregnate her.
Hernandez then requested to meet the alleged minor in person at an agreed upon location at a park in Harlingen, at which time he expected to engage in sexual activity with her. However, law enforcement took him into custody upon his arrival.
HSI’s Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell prosecuted the case. This case 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 and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”