UPDATE: SFR contributor Peter St. Cyr obtained a picture of the warrant that links the FBI raid on Loera's home to the email investigation that led to last week's indictment of Jamie Estrada. Estrada is charged with 12 counts of allegedly intercepting emails that belonged to Governor Susana Martinez' campaign email domain. St. Cyr writes that his sources say Loera's computer was raided in the email hacking case during the last week of 2012.
Last Friday, Jason Loera, a political consultant and former Albuquerque resident, was arrested in Los Angeles, for allegedly harboring child pornography.
Loera, a political operative who has worked with New Mexico Democrats, faces between five to 20 years in prison on an indictment of two counts for allegedly "receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct" and one count for allegedly "possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct."
The office of Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-Santa Fe, whom Loera had done work for in the past, released a statement to SFR.
"We are shocked to hear about the indictment," Luján spokesman Andrew Stoddard writes in an email to SFR. "These are very serious charges and they deserve to be fully addressed through the legal system."
The Democratic Party of New Mexico had no comment on Loera's indictment.
Though he was arrested in California, Loera allegedly harbored the child pornography in Bernalillo County in September 2009 and February 2010. He is being charged by the US Attorney's Office in New Mexico. The case was investigated by the Albuquerque division of the FBI.
Earlier today, he was released on a $20,000 bond and is currently under electric monitoring. Loera is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Read the US Attorney's statement below:
June 3, 2013
POLITICAL CONSULTANT ARRESTED ON FEDERAL
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
ALBUQUERQUE – Jason Loera, 44, a political consultant and former resident of Albuquerque, N.M., was arrested Friday in Los Angeles, Calif., by the FBI. Loera’s arrest was based on an indictment alleging child pornography charges that was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. Loera made his initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles earlier this afternoon. Loera was released on a $20,000.00 bond and under electronic monitoring,
and ordered to report to the federal court in Albuquerque to face the charges in the indictment. [Later, the press release was corrected with the following information: CORRECTION: The federal court in Los Angeles has not yet entered an order requiring Loera to appear in federal court in Albuquerque.]
The three-count indictment charges Loera with two counts of receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and one count of possessing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to the indictment, Loera allegedly committed these offenses in Sept. 2009 and Feb. 2010 in Bernalillo County, N.M.
If convicted of the offenses alleged in the indictment, Loera faces a maximum sentence of not less than five years or more than 20 years in prison. Loera also would be required to register as a sex offender. Charges in indictments are merely accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and the New Mexico Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.