$111,252 In Cash Seized During 2017 Traffic Stop
A federal jury today (Tuesday) convicted David Sierra Orozco, 31, a Mexican national and recent resident of Georgia, of possessing child pornography.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, on July 25, 2017, members of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office were observing traffic outside of Dunn city limits, when they spotted a Lexus whose registered owner had an expired license. They followed the Lexus, and after observing it twice drift across the center lane, conducted a traffic stop.
The driver identified himself as Orozco and presented a Mexican consular ID but no valid driver’s license. Officers noticed that Orozco appeared extremely nervous — he was sweating profusely despite the air conditioner on high and was shaking uncontrollably. They also noticed tool marks on the car’s instrument panel and that the cover was not flush with the dashboard. Recognizing this as signs of a possible hidden “trap” in the dashboard, officers called for a K-9 deputy. As the traffic stop proceeded, Orozco consented to a search, and the K-9 arrived and alerted to the car. Within a trap in the dashboard, officers found $111,252 in cash, wrapped in blocks within grocery bags.
While being processed into the Harnett County Jail on a charge of driving without a license, Orozco was searched. A folded up $100 bill was removed from his pocket, and as law enforcement unfolded it, several MicroSD memory cards fell out. Orozco lunged for the floor, picked up what appeared to be two memory cards, and put them in his mouth. Officers recovered one chewed half of a memory card from his mouth and three intact cards from the floor.
Law enforcement obtained a search warrant based on possible narcotics trafficking. But upon opening the first MicroSD memory card, they spotted what appeared to be child sexual abuse material, commonly referred to as child pornography. After securing a second search warrant, a full forensic review uncovered over 261 videos and 2 images of child pornography on one MicroSD memory card, another 14 videos on a second memory card, and 5 child pornography thumbnails on the defendant’s smart phone. Most files depicted children under 12 years of age.
Along with the child pornography, the forensic examiner found files linking the devices to Orozco. Two of the memory cards and the cell phone contained photographs that Orozco had taken of himself. The other card contained a photo of a car that an officer confirmed was the same make, model, and color as the Lexus that Orozco had been driving. Forensics further showed that Orozco had taken and sent one of the photos of himself using the same mobile application that had been used to collect the child pornography.
Orozco faces a maximum of 240 months in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced during the court’s June 21, 2021 term.
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III accepted today’s verdict. The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Homeland Security have investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake D. Pugh is prosecuting.