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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tucson Man Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for 1998 Child Sexual Abuse


     TUCSON, Ariz. – On October 23, 2019, Christopher James Preston, 52, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James A. Soto to 156 months in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release.  Preston is also required to register as a sex offender.

     A federal jury previously found Preston guilty in a re-trial of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. The evidence at the re-trial showed that in the summer of 1998, Preston, a member of the Tohono O’Odham Tribe, sexually abused the 10-year-old victim in Tucson, in the San Xavier district, on the Tohono O’odham reservation. At the time, Preston was the victim’s little league coach.

     The investigation in this case was conducted by the Tohono O’odham Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Matthew C. Cassell and Rui Wang, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.

Federal Grand Jury in El Paso Indicts Alleged Law Enforcement Imposter


In El Paso this morning, federal and state authorities arrested 27–year-old Jose Alejandro Vaquera for allegedly impersonating a federal agent, stated U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge David Eisenreich, El Paso Division; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Special Agent in Charge Charles Anderson and El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges the El Paso resident with one count of impersonator making arrest or search.  According to the indictment, on July 8, 2018, Vaquera knowingly pretended to be an ICE agent engaged in detaining and arresting a person.

Vaquera is expected to make his initial appearance at 2:00PM tomorrow afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Miguel Torres in El Paso.  Upon conviction, Vaquera faces up to three years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

The FBI, ICE-OPR and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office conducted this investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Aguayo is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Maximum Prison Sentence for South Carolina Felon Guilty of Human Sex Trafficking in Georgia


VALDOSTA, Ga. — A South Carolina man with an extensive criminal history was sentenced to 120 months in prison for human sex trafficking, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Kenneth Hutto, 46, of Summerville, South Carolina entered a guilty plea on January 10, 2019 to two counts of transportation for illegal sexual activity. On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, U.S. District Judge Hugh Lawson sentenced Mr. Hutto to 10 years in prison and twenty years supervised release, the statutory maximum sentence.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Between approximately March 2017 and continuing until February 13, 2018, Mr. Hutto transported a person identified in the signed plea agreement as “E.B.” in interstate commerce between South Carolina and Georgia so E.B. could engage in prostitution for his profit. On June 13, 2017, a Valdosta deputy working undercover responded to an advertisement on a well-known human sex trafficking website, backpage.com, showing a female with bruising to her backside. The deputy was directed via a text message to a Valdosta motel, where Mr. Hutto met him, collected a cash payment, and directed him to a motel room where E.B. was waiting. The deputy observed visible bruising to E.B.’s eyes, neck and arms. Subsequent interviews with E.B. and Mr. Hutto revealed that the pair met while Mr. Hutto was in federal prison, and connected in March 2017 when Mr. Hutto was released from prison. E.B. told investigators she suffers from mental illness and was abused by her husband, who broke her back. On July 20, 2017, Mr. Hutto was released on a state bond and ordered not to have any contact with E.B. Mr. Hutto was rearrested on February 13, 2018 in South Carolina, and cell phone records and witness statements established that Mr. Hutto was again trafficking E.B. for his profit.

“This is just one tragic example of the types of abuse and manipulation that all too often accompany human sex trafficking.  Orchestrating the sale of sex through coercion will not be tolerated in the Middle District of Georgia, as reflected by this lengthy prison sentence,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney. “I want to thank the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office for their excellent work on this case.”

The case was investigated by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Bowen prosecuted the case for the Government.  Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.