A Mount Vernon man has been indicted on federal child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Zachary Arzola, also known as Zachary Castenada, 26, was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 19, 2023 charging him with coercion and enticement of a minor; traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct; and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to the indictment, from December 2022 until January 9, 2023, Arzola allegedly used the internet and social media and messaging applications to coerce a minor to engage in illegal sexual conduct. In December 2022, Arzola is alleged to have traveled from Texas to Ohio for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and in January 2023, transported a minor across state lines to engage in criminal sexual activity.
If convicted, Arzola faces up to life in federal prison.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety – CID, Mount Vernon Police Department and the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Hornok.