CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – A 53-year-old local man has been ordered to federal prison for conspiring to entice a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Santos Gonzalez pleaded guilty March 2.
Today, U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton sentenced Gonzalez to 420 months in prison. He will then have to serve the rest of his life on supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. Gonzalez will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
At the time of his plea, Gonzalez admitted to soliciting co-defendant Diane Martinez to produce and send illicit photographs of a minor victim. In exchange, he provided Martinez money for groceries and medication.
Forensic analysis of Facebook accounts belonging to Gonzalez and Martinez revealed they communicated between Jan. 21, 2016, and May 20, 2020. Throughout the thousands of pages of communication, Gonzalez expressed wanting to have sexual intercourse with the minor victim. Gonzalez would offer food, groceries, gifts and other items of monetary value in exchange for Martinez sending nude photographs of the child.
Eventually, Gonzalez no longer used Martinez as an intermediary, directly soliciting the minor victim for sex.
Authorities received information about the abuse from a family acquaintance of the victim as well as a tablet used to commit the crimes.
Gonzalez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced July 28 before Judge Tipton.
Homeland Security Investigations, Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Popejoy and Dennis Robinson prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.