Miami Man, Michael Mendoza Guilty of Child Exploitation
Miami, FL (STL.News) Miami resident Michael Mendoza, 61, pled guilty last week in South Florida federal district court to receiving and possessing child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the counts.
According to case documents and statements made in court, law enforcement executed a federal search warrant at Mendoza’s home, where he lived with his wife and two adult children. Officers found a desktop computer and two external hard drives containing videos and photographs of child pornography and 11 compact discs with labels indicative of child pornography.
Some of the over 300 videos and photographs of child pornography that Mendoza had showed toddlers being forced to perform sexual acts on adults. Forensic analysis of the media showed Mendoza has been viewing and storing child pornography for almost two decades. Mendoza admitted that he downloaded child pornography to his computer using a peer-to-peer sharing application and that he stored child pornography for later viewing.
U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez will sentence Mendoza on December 17, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. in Miami.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, announced the guilty plea.
HSI Miami investigated the case with assistance from Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Miami-Dade Police Department, Hialeah Police Department, and City of Miami Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Yara Dodin and Quinshawna Landon are prosecuting this case. AUSA Peter Laserna is handling asset forfeiture.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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 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.