Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

Cruces middle school principal arrested on child porn charges

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Las Cruces middle school principal has been arrested on federal child pornography charges.

Joel Aguilar Villanueva (Source: Doña Ana County Detention Center)

Joel Aguilar Villanueva, 42, made his initial court appearance in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces today, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He is charged in a criminal complaint with transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce and possession of child pornography.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Villanueva served as principal at Zia Middle School before being placed on leave this week.

According to the news release, the investigation leading to the charges against Villanueva started in October 2018, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that a certain Twitter account was being used to share videos of suspected child pornography.

“The investigation revealed that the Twitter account allegedly was subscribed to Villanueva, who listed a Las Cruces-area apartment as his residence,” the release reads.

Law enforcement officers executed a state search warrant at the apartment on Wednesday and seized an external hard drive that contained suspected child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was arrested while the officers undertook the search.

Villanueva will stay in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, which are scheduled for Tuesday.

If convicted, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, Villanueva faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years of in prison on the transportation of child pornography charge, and a maximum 20 years in prison on the possession of child pornography charge.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a story about how coronavirus has affected you, your family or your business? Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? What issues related to the topic would you like to see covered? Or do you have a bright spot you want to share in these troubling times?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com or Contact the writer.


TOP |