McALLEN, Texas – A 26-year-old man residing in Hidalgo is set to appear in federal court on charges of coercion of a minor and production of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Rogelio Pruneda III is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis at 2 p.m.
Originally charged by criminal complaint, a federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment Nov. 15.
According to the charges, Pruneda began communicating via social media with a minor female, offering money and THC vape cartridges in exchange for sexual acts. Pruneda allegedly convinced the minor female to meet locally, at which time Pruneda created two videos of the minor female performing oral sex on him.
The charges allege Pruneda exchanged messages recognizing the minor female’s age and discussed sexual activity with the minor female. Pruneda allegedly met up with the female on two more occasions at a family-owned auto shop and a residence where he engaged in sexual intercourse with the minor. In one instance Pruneda brought THC cartridges in exchange for sex, according to the charges.
Shortly thereafter, law enforcement took Pruneda into custody.
At the time of his detention hearing, the court found him to be a danger to community and ordered held in custody pending future criminal proceedings.
The FBI conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter I. Brostowin is prosecuting 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. U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources link on that page.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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