By Staff

MCALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Jason Hernandez, 34, of Mercedes, Texas was sentenced to 11 years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a young girl via social media, following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“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 Craig Larrabee, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. “HSI will continue to dedicate law enforcement resources to identify and bring to justice child predators who traumatize and victimize children.”

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Special agents assigned to HSI’s Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force (RGV CEITF) investigated the case with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol.

On Feb. 10, Hernandez was also 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. And, he will have to register as a sex offender.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who handed down the sentence, 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 judge 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 pleaded guilty Dec. 2, 2020.

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According to court documents, between Aug. 2020 and Sept. 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, Texas, at which time he expected to engage in sexual activity with her. However, law enforcement took him into custody upon his arrival.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

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