In 2017, sheriff’s deputies in Dunn stopped a blue Lexus and found the driver obviously nervous behind the wheel, shaking and sweating inside the air-conditioned car, federal prosecutors said.
Deputies also noticed pry marks on the dashboard and a radio that seemed off-kilter, court records said, and they soon found a hidden compartment stuffed with $111,252 in grocery bags.
But the real trouble for David Sierra Orozco, 31, began when deputies searched him in the Harnett County jail. Orozco pulled a folded $100 bill from his pocket and five computer memory cards spilled out, records said — which he immediately tried to eat.
Deputies snapped up three of the cards, and later recovered one more from Orozco’s mouth. Investigators found more than 20,000 images of child pornography on the cards, and on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever sentenced Orozco to 12 years in prison.
“These are real children,” Dever told Orozco in court Monday. “They’re not some computer image, not some fiction. They’re somebody’s baby, somebody’s toddler.”
In March, a federal jury convicted Orozco, who is a resident of Georgia, on a count of possessing child pornography. An unlawful immigrant, he will be deported at the end of his sentence.
The large amount of cash found in the Lexus “remains somewhat of a mystery,” Dever said Monday. At the time, court record said, Orozco told deputies he had been paid to drive the car and had no connection to the money.
Two years ago, a federal public defender tried to suppress all evidence from the traffic stop and “prolonged seizure,” arguing that Orozco had committed no traffic violations and deputies had no reason to suspect him. They noted Orozco speaks little to no English.
In court records, though, deputies said the car’s registered owner — not Orozco — had an expired license, and that its driver — Orozco — crossed the center line. He consented to the search several times, and in English.
“Mr. Orozco expressly disputes the officer’s account,” assistant public defender Katherine Shea wrote in 2018. “Moreover, this stop involved a Hispanic driver of a Lexus in a rural area.”
Orozco, speaking through a translator, declined to comment Monday.
His attorney Ryan Willis said Orozco had been assaulted by other inmates since his arrest, and he asked that he serve his time in Texas, where he has ties along with Mexico.
“Obviously, the content of the images in this case are horrific,” he said.
As part of his sentence, Orozco must undergo mental health evaluations and sexual offender treatment programs. He must also pay $5,000 in restitution to one of the victims.