Merced man sentenced for bringing 16-year-old girl from Mexico for sexual purposes

FRESNO — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced David Valencia, 43, of Merced, to four years and three months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual activity.

The case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Merced Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly A. Sanchez prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, Valencia admitted that he spent time with a 16-year-old girl and her family in Mexico. In August 2007, he paid a “coyote” $2,000 to bring the girl across the border. He admitted that he intended for their relationship to progress toward marriage and to engage in sexual intercourse with her after she entered the United States, according to a news release. He admitted that in fact, at his home in Merced, they did engage in sexual intercourse.

“What happened to the teenage victim in this case is a powerful reminder about why law enforcement must remain ever vigilant in its ongoing efforts to target those who prey upon and sexually exploit innocent children,” said Paul Leonardi, resident agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Fresno. “Paedophiles and others who think they can exploit children with impunity should be on notice, ICE Homeland Security Investigations will do everything in its power and use every tool at our disposal to track you down and see you brought to justice.”