The online stranger threatened and harassed children for weeks and months to send him photos of themselves naked.
That man, Vista resident Joseph Daniel Saucedo, 26, was sentenced in federal court in San Diego County on Friday to nearly 20 years in prison for the coercion that began when he pretended online to be a teenage girl wanting to exchange explicit photos with other children, federal prosectors said.
Saucedo pleaded guilty a year ago to two counts of receiving and attempting to receive photos of minors, ages 11 and 16, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. A third count was dismissed.
He faced 15 to 40 years in prison. A federal judge imposed a sentence of 19 years, seven months in prison and 20 years of supervised release, according to a statement issued by the U.S. attorney's office.
The statement said that in the plea deal, Saucedo admitted he had posed as teenager "Amy Jennings" to communicate online with an 11-year-old Canadian boy. As "Amy," Saucedo sent the boy pictures of naked girls and asked if he would communicate with "her" friend, Saucedo.
When the boy refused, "Amy" posted a photo of his house and threatened to shame him into texting Saucedo, authorities said. They said Saucedo displayed himself naked to the boy using FaceTime and demanded pictures in return.
Early in 2016, the Calgary Police Service was investigating child pornography and had traced images to Saucedo in Vista and connected him to the 11-year-old boy's case.
Cross-border investigations came to involve the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations. San Diego's Electronic Crimes Working Group arrested Saucedo in 2016 and found cellphone evidence of nine more possible victims, federal prosecutors said.
The investigation revealed that "Amy" had exchanged 130 images and 66 videos, many of them child pornography, with Kik instant messaging app users.
One victim, 13, was asked to send pictures of herself naked at school, authorities said. A 14-year-old girl was urged to commit sex acts, until she reached the point of saying the threats made her think of suicide, they said.
Starting in 2015, Saucedo tormented a 16-year-old Florida girl for nearly a year after first posing as an agent looking for nude models, prosecutors said. When the girl stalled, Saucedo posed as "Amy Jennings" with blackmail threats. He persuaded the teen to send photos of her breasts and conduct a sexually explicit FaceTime chat with him, they said.
"This case highlights the importance of strong international partnerships to target these heinous crimes," U.S. Atty. Adam Braverman said in the statement.
Saucedo was convicted in San Diego Superior Court in 2012 for unlawful sex with a minor. He was 20 and the girl was 14 at the time, authorities said.
Repard writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.