This article originally appeared in the Friday Nov. 8, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
The Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigations Task Force arrested a prominent South Texas attorney last month, when federal agents found child pornography at his law office.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations, a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, arrested Francisco “Frank” Enriquez, 66, of McAllen on Oct. 30.
“Frank is and remains an innocent man,” his attorney, Carlos A. Garcia of Mission, said in a statement. “He is a veteran of the Vietnam era who was honorably discharged in 1975. There are many facts that will come to light later in the litigation that will confirm Frank’s innocence of the charges lodged against him. We respectfully ask for patience and respect for the rule of law as he awaits trial.”
Born in California and raised in San Antonio, where he attended Catholic schools, Enriquez joined the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
After being stationed in Spain, Thailand, Italy and Turkey, he returned to South Texas and graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1978.
Enriquez became a player in Hidalgo County politics, where he supported judicial candidates and served on local boards.
He mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Place 3 on the 13th Court of Appeals in March 2000 and challenged U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, in November 2006.
For the past 15 years, Enriquez maintained homes in both San Antonio and McAllen, where he lived on the second floor of his law office.
The regional Child Exploitation Investigations Task Force executed a search warrant at the law office, which is located near the International Museum of Art & Science, on Oct. 30.
“The searched (sic) revealed that a P2P file sharing software, often used to share child pornography, had been installed on a computer located within the office,” according to the criminal complaint against Enriquez. “Additionally, agents located child pornography on multiple devices found in the Defendant’s office.”
Agents found child pornography on two hard drives.
The first hard drive, which agents found in Enriquez’s desk, contained 100 images and eight videos that met the federal definition of child pornography, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis, who summarized information provided to him by a Homeland Security Investigations agent during a court hearing on Oct. 31.
The second hard drive, which agents found near a printer in Enriquez’s office, contained six videos that met the federal definition of child pornography.
“No other child pornography was found at this point anywhere else within the building,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mitchell said at the Oct. 31 hearing. “It was solely within the defendant’s office.”
Two employees had access to Enriquez’s office, Mitchell said, but they needed permission to enter.
The Homeland Security Investigations agent provided additional details to Alanis during a sealed bench conference. After the bench conference, Alanis set bond at $100,000 with a $10,000 cash deposit.
Alanis also prohibited Enriquez from accessing the internet, using computers and having any contact with minors, with the exception of his grandchildren.
If convicted on the charge, receipt of child pornography, Enriquez faces 5 to 20 years in prison.