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United States of America v. Mark Antonio Pazmino and Mark Richard Hardin
Western District of Texas Federal Courthouse - San Antonio, Texas
Case Number: 5:16-cr-00538, 5:16-cr-00178
Judge: Royce Lamberth and Orlando L. Garcia
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (Bexar County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: Sarah Wannarka
Defendant's Attorney: Juan Hernandez
Tom McHugh for Mark Richard Hardin
Description: San Antonio, TX - Two Servicemembers Sentenced to Federal Prison for Attempting to Have Sex with a Minor
Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Mark Antonio Pazmino, a 30–year-old former U.S. Army member assigned to Joint Base San Antonio—National Security Agency (JBSA-NSA), to 121 months in federal prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for attempting to have sex with a minor announced United States Attorney John F. Bash.
On May 16, 2017, Pazmino pleaded guilty to one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. According to court records, in 2016, Pazmino responded to a personal ad from an individual whom he believed was a 14-year-old female residing on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, TX (JBSA-Lackland). Pazmino stated multiple times through the chat conversation, as well as a recorded telephone conversation, that he wanted to engage in sexual activity with the minor female. Unbeknownst to Pazmino, the 14-year-old he was communicating with was actually an undercover agent with Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). Federal agents arrested Pazmino on July 5, 2016, when he showed up at a pre-arranged meeting location on JBSA-Lackland. He has remained in federal custody since his arrest.
In a separate, but related matter, on January 24, 2018, Chief United States District Judge Orlando L. Garcia sentenced 28-year-old Mark Richard Hardin, an enlisted Navy member assigned to Joint Base San Antonio—Fort Sam Houston (JBSA-FSH), to 120 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. On October 12, 2017, the former U.S. Navy medical technician at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) pleaded guilty to one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. By pleading guilty, Hardin admitted that in February 2016, he began text messaging with an individual he believed was a 14-year-old female residing on JBSA-Lackland for the purposes of meeting and ultimately engaging in sexual intercourse with her. Unbeknownst to Hardin, the 14-year-old was an undercover AFOSI agent. On February 25, 2016, federal agents arrested Hardin on JBSA-Lackland. He has remained in federal custody since his arrest.
AFOSI, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and FBI special agents conducted this investigation.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 www.justice.gov/psc.
Outcome: Mark Antonio Pazmino was sentenced to 121 months' in prison followed by 20 years' of supervised release.
Mark Richard Hardin was sentenced to 120 months' in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.