McALLEN, Texas – A 33-year-old south Texan has been sent to prison for possessing child pornography with the intent to sell it on the internet, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Astro Rey De Leon pleaded guilty Dec. 17, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced him 210 months in federal prison. At the hearing, the court heard additional information including chats De Leon had with other individuals regarding the trade and sale of child sexual abuse material. The court also considered descriptions of the videos De Leon possessed as well as victim impact statements.
In handing down the prison term, the court noted that De Leon’s crimes were particularly heinous due to the ages of the victims, the number of videos involved and because he retained and sold videos to tailor his collection to his own desires. Judge Crane also reiterated that the material was recorded sexual abuse of children and should be addressed as such.
De Leon was further ordered to pay a total of $15,000 in restitution to five victims and will serve the rest of his life on supervised release following completion of his prison term. During that time, he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
Authorities had learned a computer was receiving child pornography. They were able to trace it to De Leon at his residence. He admitted he was actively involved in speaking with individuals who were interested in buying child pornography via applications on his cell phone.
A search of his phone revealed he had recently tried to sell child pornography. De Leon further admitted he had bought it himself only two months prior to law enforcement’s arrival at his residence.
De Leon has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons Facility to be determined in the near future.
Homeland Security Investigations – Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eliza Carmen Rodriguez is prosecuting 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 link on that page.