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Press Release

Brazilian National Pleads Guilty To Attempted Sex Trafficking Of A Child

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Mateus Fernandes Evangelista Da Silva (23, Brazil) has pleaded guilty to attempted sex trafficking of a child. Evangelista Da Silva faces a minimum mandatory term of 15 years, up to life, in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. As part of the plea agreement, Evangelista Da Silva will forfeit the electronic devices he used in committing the offense and make restitution to victims associated with this case who have been identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

According to the plea agreement, on October 6, 2021, Evangelista Da Silva used his cellphone to communicate with an undercover agent who purported to have access to two minor children, ages 13 and 14. Evangelista Da Silva coordinated a meeting and travelled to a designated location in St. Petersburg, Florida to meet the fictitious children for the purposes of engaging in sex. Once Evangelista Da Silva arrived, he stated he wanted to engage in oral sex and vaginal intercourse with the 13-year-old and paid the undercover agent $200.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa M. Thelwell.

This case was brought as part of the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force of the Middle District of Florida, which is one of 13 task forces in the country to receive grant funding from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Task Force is a collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement agents working together with organizations to detect, investigate, and prosecute human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area. This includes trafficking of minors, forced labor, transnational sex trafficking, and sex trafficking of adults by force, fraud, or coercion. More information about the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force can be found at Information on the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat human trafficking can be found at

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated May 1, 2023

Project Safe Childhood
Human Trafficking