McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A migrant man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography and for being in the country illegally, according to federal officials.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane of the Southern District of Texas on Tuesday ordered Jose Ricardo Zamora-Ibarra, 35, to serve 180 months in prison.

In December, Zamora-Ibarra plead guilty to downloading over 250 files containing child pornography images utilizing a peer-to-peer platform, according to the Department of Justice.

Zamora-Ibarra had been living in the South Texas border town of Palmview and had been the subject of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to a media release sent by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Because of the outstanding investigative efforts of HSI and our federal partners, this repeat child sex offender will serve a lengthy federal prison sentence,” Craig Larrabee, HSI acting special agent in charge for San Antonio, said in a statement. “Our efforts are vital to protecting our nation’s most vulnerable population from repeat sexual predators who troll the internet looking for additional victims.”

According to court documents, images of pre-pubescent children engaged in sex acts were retrieved from Zamora-Ibarra’s laptop and external hard drive. Files included names like “preteen boy sex” and “preteen girl sex,” HSI and DOJ officials said.

Zamora-Ibarra had previously been convicted of sexual assault of a child and removed from the United States but illegally re-entered the country, officials said.

He has been ordered to pay $15,000 restitution to known victims and after serving his sentence, he is expected to face removal proceedings, officials said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Devin Walker prosecuted the case, which DOJ said was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide agency initiative that launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com