Argentinian Man Pleads Guilty To Child Sexual Exploitation And Distribution Of Child Pornography Over The Darkweb
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Andres Rafael Viola, 36, an Argentine citizen who resides in Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Frank Burrola for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to court documents, in May 2019, Yahoo, Inc. reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that one of its users received 14 images of child pornography from Viola, who was using the darkweb Tor network to distribute child pornography.
On June 7, 2019, federal law enforcement arrested Viola at his Las Vegas residence. Law enforcement determined that Viola had supervisory control over the child victim. A forensic examination of electronic devices that were seized from Viola’s home revealed nearly 350 child pornography images and video, including Viola’s sexual exploitation of the victim and a curated collection of child pornography from other victims. Evidence showed that Viola had used the darkweb to distribute, trade, and share the child pornography he created of the child victim.
For the hands-on offenses related to the child victim, Viola pleaded guilty in Nevada state court to one count of Sexual Assault of a Child under the Age of 14.
This case was the product of an investigation by HSI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elham Roohani is prosecuting the case.
Viola is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II on May 28, 2020. As part of his guilty plea, Viola has agreed to 35 years of imprisonment and he may face deportation from the United States. The statutory mandatory minimum sentence for sexual exploitation of children is 15 years in prison. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals 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.justice.gov/psc.