Illegal Alien Sentenced to Federal Prison for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor and Possession of Child Pornography
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced that, U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced VICTOR ZELAYA-FUNEZ, age 38, a Honduran national residing in Zachary, Louisiana, to 185 months in federal prison following his convictions for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. The Court further sentenced ZELAYA-FUNEZ to 5 years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. The Court also ordered that the electronic devices used to facilitate his crimes be forfeited.
Following a three-day trial in June of this year, a jury unanimously found ZELAYA-FUNEZ guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. The evidence at trial demonstrated that ZELAYA-FUNEZ possessed sexually explicit photos of the victim, and attempted to coerce the victim into creating additional sexually explicit videos and sending them to him. In private messages he sent to the victim, ZELAYA-FUNEZ threatened to tell the victim’s parents about sexually explicit images of her which he possessed if she did not comply with his demands for additional sexually explicit material. In other private messages, the defendant told the victim he cared for her and promised to provide her with various things of value in exchange for additional sexually explicit material.
United States Attorney Fremin stated, “This prosecution and sentence should send a strong message that we will go to great lengths to protect our communities from child predators and those who attempt to exploit children. I am very proud of the hard work and collaboration by our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office.”
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood combines federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement Removal Operations, and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office. The matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rene I. Salomon, who serves as the office’s Chief of the Criminal Division and former Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Rezaei.