San Diego

A 54-year-old man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for producing sexually explicit videotapes and photos of children and for trying to bring the materials into the United States, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge William Enright sentenced Richard Helwig, 54, of San Francisco, to the 14-year term on Tuesday, Asst. U.S. Atty. Joan P. Weber said. Helwig had been convicted last September of two pornography-related charges and a third count of jumping bail after his initial arrest, Weber said.

Helwig was arrested last March at the San Ysidro border crossing when U.S. Customs officials found more than 130 photos showing children in sexually explicit poses, Weber said. Officers also found photographic film and videotapes that depicted a small girl in explicit poses, Weber said. Through papers found in Helwig's camper, customs agents traced the girl--who turned out to be 9 years old and deaf--to a small village near the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta where Helwig lived part-time, Weber said.

Helwig was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison for the central charge against him, formally called "sexual exploitation of children," Weber said. Enright imposed a separate three-year term for transporting material involving the sexual exploitation of children and another separate term, one year, for bail jumping, Weber said.

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