David Sierra Orozco, 31, a Mexican national and recent resident of Georgia, was sentenced today to 144 months in prison for possessing child pornography. A federal jury found Orozco guilty of the charge on March 23, 2021, following a two-day trial.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on July 25, 2017, members of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office were observing traffic outside of Dunn city limits, when they spotted a Lexus whose registered owner had an expired license. They followed the Lexus, and after observing it twice drift across the center lane, conducted a traffic stop.
The driver identified himself as Orozco and presented a Mexican consular ID but no valid driver’s license. Officers noticed that Orozco appeared extremely nervous—he was sweating profusely despite the air conditioner on high and was shaking uncontrollably. They also noticed tool marks on the car’s instrument panel and that the cover was not flush with the dashboard. Recognizing this as signs of a possible hidden “trap” in the dashboard, officers called for a K-9 deputy. As the traffic stop proceeded, Orozco consented to a search, and the K-9 arrived and alerted to the car. Within a trap in the dashboard, officers found $111,252 in cash, wrapped in blocks within grocery bags.
While being processed into the Harnett County Jail on a charge of driving without a license, Orozco was searched. A folded up $100 bill was removed from his pocket, and as law enforcement unfolded it, several MicroSD memory cards fell out. Orozco lunged for the floor, picked up what appeared to be two memory cards, and put them in his mouth. Officers recovered one chewed half of a memory card from his mouth and three intact cards from the floor.
Law enforcement obtained a search warrant based on possible narcotics trafficking. But upon opening the first MicroSD memory card, they spotted what appeared to be child sexual abuse material, commonly referred to as child pornography. After securing a second search warrant, a full forensic review uncovered over 261 videos and 2 images of child pornography on one MicroSD memory card, another 14 videos on a second memory card, and 5 child pornography thumbnails on the defendant’s smart phone. Most files depicted children under 12 years of age.
Along with the child pornography, the forensic examiner found files linking the devices to Orozco. Two of the memory cards and the cell phone contained photographs that Orozco had taken of himself. The other card contained a photo of a car that an officer confirmed was the same make, model, and color as the Lexus that Orozco had been driving. Forensics further showed that Orozco had taken and sent one of the photos of himself using the same mobile application that had been used to collect the child pornography.
“Those who exploit children over the internet cannot hide behind their computers and phones. As this prosecution demonstrates, we will work tirelessly with both our federal and state law enforcement partners to ensure that these offenders answer for their crimes,” stated G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
“Orozco thought he could hide his crimes by swallowing a memory card, but he will find it tougher to swallow the fact that he will now be held accountable for his predatory behavior,” said Special Agent in Charge Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in North Carolina and South Carolina. “Protecting our most vulnerable populations from exploitation is one of our most important and impactful missions.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Acker made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Homeland Security conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake D. Pugh prosecuted the case.
This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-00095-D.