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Los Banos Police Department
Thursday August 17th, 2017 :: 01:50 p.m. PDT


Police Arrest Man for Possession of Child Pornography

On August 16, 2017 the Los Banos Police Department, with the assistance of the Merced County District Attorney's Violence Interruption/Prevention Emergency Response (V.I.P.E.R.) program, served a search warrant at an address in the 800 Block of La Mesa Lane. The warrant was obtained after investigators received information that 52-year-old Ernesto Avila Cortez, a first grade teacher at Los Banos Elementary (L.B.E.) School, had sent or received electronic child pornographic images.

At the residence, Detectives located Cortez and conducted a search of the home where they located multiple pornographic images of underage children on Cortez' personal device. During the search, Detectives seized both personal and school issued devices as evidence for further examination. A second search warrant was served at Cortez' classroom, however no evidence was located.

Cortez was placed under arrest for possession of child pornographic material and is currently in custody pending $25,000.00 bail. Detectives are still investigating this case and additional charges may follow.

“We are working diligently on our investigation into Mr. Cortez’ activities but the processing of electronic media takes time and we expect that this case will take several weeks to complete. The Police Department is working with the School District to ensure the safety of students and staff.”

-Gary Brizzee, Chief of Police

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Detective OIC Sean Bayard at (209) 827-7070 ext 115.

Los Banos Police Department
5th St
Los Banos, CA 93635

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 209-827-7070

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