ALBUQUERQUE ― Christopher H. Meza, 35, of Deming, made his initial appearance Wednesday in Federal Court in Las Cruces, on a criminal complaint charging him with distributing and possessing child pornography.
Meza remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, which have yet to be scheduled.
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation leading to Meza’s arrest was initiated in March 2018, after an FBI agent who was working in an undercover capacity in Oklahoma, signed into a publicly available peer-to-peer file-sharing network that was being used by individuals who were sharing child pornography images and videos. The agent learned that an IP Address and email address subscribed to Meza allegedly were being used to share child pornography.
May 3, 2018, the FBI executed a search warrant at Meza’s residence. While executing the search warrant, FBI agents seized a computer that allegedly contained more than a dozen video files and more than a hundred image files of child pornography.
If convicted of offenses charged in the criminal complaint, Meza faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison on the distribution of child pornography charge and a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison on the possession of child pornography charge. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the Deming Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/(link is external). Individuals with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse are encouraged to contact the Children’s Advocacy Center at (575).526.3437, or to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.
The case also was brought as a part of the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force’s mission, which is to locate, track, and capture Internet child sexual predators and Internet child pornographers in New Mexico. There are 86 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies associated with the New Mexico ICAC Task Force, which is funded by a grant administered by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. Anyone with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse is encouraged to contact federal or local law enforcement.