A Californian was sentenced today to 55 years in prison followed by life on probation for sexual exploitation of a minor and dissemination of child pornography.
Jacob Blanco, 29, of Fresno, pleaded guilty in May 2020 to sexual exploitation of a minor and receiving and distributing material involving the sexual exploitation of minors. According to court documents, Blanco’s activities were discovered in March 2017 when the parents of a six-year-old discovered that the child had communicated and created sexually explicit images at the request of another user on the Musical.ly social network application (now TIC Tac). Law enforcement investigators subsequently identified the offender as Blanco.
Investigators then searched Blanco’s residence and digital devices and found that he had successfully persuaded and coerced several minors into producing sexually explicit material. Blanco used various methods of deception and seduction, including pretending to be a model agent or to be a minor himself. Blanco has used Snapchat, Kik, Musical.ly and other apps to communicate with underage women with the aim of having them create and transmit to him images of themselves engaged in sexually explicit behavior. Blanco admitted, as part of his plea deal, that he communicated with at least 50 minors and requested and received sexually explicit images from many of them.
“The accused used an array of social media to target and manipulate young children,” said Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. “I commend the investigation and prosecution teams for successfully eliminating a dangerous child predator from the community. While no prison sentence can erase the pain caused in this case, I hope today’s sentence will bring a sense of justice and healing to those who have been hurt by the crimes of the accused.
“Today’s sentence is justified because of the gravity of the accused’s conduct, the large number of minor victims and the impact that the accused’s conduct has had – and will continue to have – on the dozens of child victims of the accused, “said Acting US Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California. “The fact that the accused used social media to sexually exploit the victims is a reminder that the Internet can be a dangerous place, especially for children.”
“The abuse and exploitation of children is deeply cruel, violating the trust and safety of victims, which generates trauma that may never fully heal. We hope today’s sentence will do justice to those he harmed, ”said Special Agent in Charge Tatum King of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “HSI stands ready with its local, state and federal partners to expose a network of resources and international law enforcement capabilities against those who seek to exploit our most vulnerable. HSI appreciates the dedicated work of its Special Constables, Computer Forensics Officers, Crime Analysts, Victim Witness Coordinators and Forensic Investigators, as well as the investigative and prosecution teams of our law enforcement partners. , who are steadfast in their commitment to prosecute these predators.
HSI investigated the case, with invaluable assistance provided by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the Fresno Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Gappa of the Eastern District of California and Trial Attorney Nadia C. Prinz of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the Criminal Division continued the case.
This case was brought within the framework of the Safe Childhood project, a national initiative launched in May 2006 by the Ministry of Justice to combat the epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse of children. Led by the United States Prosecutor’s Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information on the Safe Childhood Project, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information on Internet Safety Education.