Weslaco man faces child porn charges

Arrest leads to second suspect

McALLEN — The arrest of a Weslaco man led federal agents to a Pharr man accused of receiving and distributing child pornography, records show.

Vincent Andrew Gutierrez faces federal child pornography charges after federal agents discovered the material in his possession.

Gutierrez, of Pharr, was arrested in early December on two federal charges, receipt of and possession of child pornography, according to the criminal complaint filed against Gutierrez Dec. 19.

As part of an investigation that began in June 2019, the Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigation Taskforce served a search warrant at the residence of Rene Tafolla, 50, of Weslaco. During an interview with federal agents, Tafolla admitted to downloading videos of child pornography and named Gutierrez as the friend who had “taught him about 4Chan, BitTorrent,” and sent him links to download child pornography.

“Tafolla stated he would download videos of child pornography, masturbate to them, and then delete them,” the complaint stated. “Tafolla stated some of the websites (Gutierrez) sent him were in other languages, such as Russian, French, etc.”

In August, after a meeting with Tafolla, who at that point had been in federal custody facing his own child pornography charges for two months, federal agents were given information identifying an apartment in Pharr on the 1600 block of East Quail Street as Gutierrez’s residence.

A month later, federal agents requested Gutierrez’s subscriber information from his internet provider, which revealed that the IP address tied to Gutierrez had downloaded child pornography in April 2019.

Agents identified 39 files that depicted prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts.

“The phone number on file with Charter Communications Inc. dba, Spectrum, is identified as the number under the listing ‘Vince’ in Tafolla’s phone that sent him links to 4Chan, which contained child pornography, and taught him how to download torrent files of child pornography,” the complaint reads. “Specifically, on February 21, 2019, the phone number identified as ‘Vince’ sent a link to Tafolla’s phone that provided a menu of pornography, which included access to child pornography.”

On Dec. 18, the taskforce executed a search warrant at Gutierrez’s residence in Pharr and found a laptop computer belonging to Gutierrez that contained torrent files that met the federal definition of child pornography, the complaint reads.

Tafolla, who pleaded guilty to the porn charges he was facing in October 2019, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 23, records show.

Gutierrez, who remains in custody, is expected to appear before a magistrate judge Thursday for a preliminary examination and detention hearing where he’ll learn whether he’ll be granted a bond pending his trial, which has not yet been set.