Former local officer sentenced to federal prison for child porn

Local News

FILE: Generic jail/prison corridor (Photo credit: Getty)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A former Primera police officer has been sentenced to federal prison for possessing child pornography, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

From September 219 to March 2020 Joel Alex Sandate installed hidden cameras to capture recordings of a female minor, investigation revealed. Sandate saved the recorded videos onto various computer media devices such as his cellphone, a sim card, and a USB drive.

Another Primera PD officer discovered the images and reported it to authorities.

Sandate plead guilty on April 15.

On Thursday, the United States District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. sentenced Sandate to a 10-year sentence. At the hearing, the court also heard additional information Thursday including the victim impact statement from the victim and her mother.

Sandate was further ordered to pay $4,320 in restitution to the known victim and ordered an additional $10,000 special assessment.

The former officer will also serve 20 years on supervised release following completion of his sentence, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet.

He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

Sandate will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations – Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of PPD, Texas Rangers and the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ana C. Cano and Jose A. Esquivel Jr. prosecuted the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources tab on that page.

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