A Chicago man was sentenced in federal court to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to plans to travel to Mexico to engage in commercial sex with children.

Asael Rodriguez-Alvarado, 21, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Raner C. Collins last week, according to an Aug. 15 news release.

After Rodriguez-Alvarado serves his prison term, he must adhere to a lifetime of supervised release with stringent sex offender conditions, including register as a sex offender.

Authorities said Rodriguez-Alvarado used the internet to negotiate and plan a trip to Mexico to engage in sex acts with children between the ages of 9 and 11.

He traveled from Chicago to Arizona and was arrested after purchasing presents for the children at a Tucson store, states the release.

"This sentence should serve as a powerful deterrent to child predators who mistakenly believe they can make international travel arrangements to indulge their perverse desires with impunity," said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Phoenix.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

"The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime and, as this sentence makes clear, there are serious consequences for those convicted," said Brown.

He said federal investigators will work closely with law enforcement partners in the United States and around the world "to hold these dangerous sexual predators accountable for their actions."

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. The project was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar