Former Primera Police officer convicted of child pornography charge
A 32-year-old former officer with the Primera Police Department admitted to possessing child pornography, Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B Lowery announced Thursday.
According to a news release, Joel Alex Sandate pled guilty to the charge on Thursday. An investigation revealed that from September 2019 to March 2020, he installed hidden cameras to capture recordings of a minor female.
Sandate saved the recorded videos onto several media devices like his cellphone, a SIM card, and a USB drive. Another PPD officer discovered the images and reported them to authorities, according to the news release.
U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. accepted the plea deal and set the sentencing for July 20.
Sandate faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in federal prison; he remains in custody pending sentencing.
The Homeland Security Investigations Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Task Force led the investigation with assistance from the PPD, Texas Rangers, and the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.