Clovis man sentenced to prison for trying to lure child through Instagram

Paul Espinosa was busted by an undercover sting operation, and he will be supervised for the next two decades.

A Clovis man has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for trying to lure a minor through Instagram. 

Paul Espinosa, 56, will also have 10 years of supervised release once he completes his sentence behind bars. 


Driving the news: Court documents state that Espinosa initiated communications with an Instagram profile controlled by an undercover agent in May 2021. 

  • The undercover agent told Espinosa that she was 15 years old. 
  • That didn’t stop Espinosa, who continued to send her messages and called her using Instagram audio. 
  • Espinosa asked for explicit pictures multiple times and asked to meet up with her to “cuddle” and to “enjoy each other’s company at least for a night.” 
  • He also asked the undercover agent to send him a picture for his eyes only, while he sent her three sexually explicit photos of females. 

The big picture: On June 26, 2021, Espinosa traveled to Fresno to meet up with the intended victim to engage in various forms of sexual activities. 

  • He was placed under arrest when he arrived, and on Sep. 25, 2023, Espinosa pleaded guilty. 
  • The case was a product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, along with assistance from the Fresno Police Department and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. 
  • The case was also brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative that launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. 
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