TEXARKANA, Texas–A Mount Vernon man facing a possible life sentence for the sexual exploitation of minors pleaded not guilty to multiple felonies Tuesday at a hearing before a federal judge in Texarkana.
Zachary Arzola, 26, aka Zachary Casteneda, appeared via video before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Boone Baxter in Texarkana for arraignment on charges of coercion and enticement of a minor, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Arzola allegedly used the internet, social media and messaging apps from December 2022 to Jan. 9, 2023, to sexually exploit a minor and create child pornography, according to count one of the indictment. The second count of the indictment alleges that Arzola traveled across state lines–from Texas to Ohio–to engage in illicit sexual conduct from Dec. 15 to Dec. 31. The third count accuses Arzola of traveling across state lines with a minor on Jan. 9 for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual conduct and production of child pornography.
Arzola waived the issue of detention and remains in federal custody.
If found guilty of count one or count three, Arzola faces a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life in prison. If convicted of count two, he faces up to 30 years in federal prison. Each count also includes the possibility of a fine up to $250,000 as well as other financial penalties.
Arzola is represented by Longview, Texas, attorney Jason Parish. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker represented the government at Tuesday’s hearing before Judge Baxter.
The case is scheduled for a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III on July 24 in Texarkana’s downtown federal building.