Lady Justice 3 16-9

A 24-year-old man is under indictment for allegedly possessing a cache of child pornography from boys whom he persuaded to send explicit images and videos of themselves — and threatening those who refused him.

Francisco Javier Soledad, 24, of the northwestern Riverside County town of Eastvale, could face a maximum 60 years to life in federal prison if convicted of six counts each of producing child porn and using the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal conduct, two counts each of advertising and distributing child porn, as well as one count of being in possession of child porn on a mobile device.

Soledad, who is free on a $170,000 bond, is slated to be arraigned April 12.

According to federal prosecutors, the investigation into the defendant’s alleged activity began earlier this year when U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents became aware that he had been communicating with a half- dozen boys between the ages of 12 and 15.

Most of the contact occurred over a two-month span in 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Soledad would allegedly take on the persona of a young boy or adult woman while interacting with the victims via social media, prosecutors said. He convinced the boys to send him nude and other compromising pictures and videos of themselves, the indictment alleges.

“Several of the victims refused demands to send additional images, which allegedly prompted Soledad to threaten to publish the previously sent images on social media platforms,” U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said. “In at least one instance, Soledad did in fact publish one of the victim’s nude images on Twitter.”

Investigators executed a search warrant at the defendant’s property early last month, resulting in his arrest and the seizure of a large number of digital files containing children engaged in sexual activity, according to the indictment.

The youths involved reside in locations throughout the United States, as far away as Georgia. However, not all of the boys have been identified.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation was urged to call the Department of Homeland Security at (866) 234-7423.

–City News Service

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