Former Pecos High coach faces federal sex crime charges

Crime

PECOS, N.M. (KRQE) – A former high school coach accused of exchanging nude photos with teenage girls is now facing federal charges. Joshua Rico was arraigned Wednesday in federal court on a five-count indictment that charges him with coercion and enticement of minors. Last week, a federal grand jury indicted Rico. The 25-year-old will remain in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 21.

Last year, Rico was accused of sexually abusing students while he was a basketball coach at Pecos High. According to the indictment, beginning as early as January 2018, Rico allegedly used Snapchat to coerce underage girls into sending him nude photos. Police say Rico threatened to expose the girls on social media if they didn’t listen to him. They say he also used a different alias on Snapchat to hide his identity.

New Mexico State Police, the FBI, and the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory investigated this case as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC) and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. “Cases like this remind of us the importance of vigilance,” said Fred J. Federici, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico in a news release. “We must stress, especially to minors, the risks of electronically sharing material of a sensitive or compromising nature. But law enforcement must also be vigilant in our duty to investigate and prosecute those who exploit new and emerging technologies to target unsuspecting victims. It is the perpetrators, not the victims, who are responsible for their crimes and manipulation.”

If convicted, Rico faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Mease and Jaymie L. Roybal are prosecuting the case.

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