Local man pleads guilty to receiving child pornography via Kik
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
McALLEN, Texas – A 27-year-old McAllen resident has admitted to receiving child pornography approximately nine times, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Gabriel Alejandro Morales admitted he had downloaded and received the child pornography on his cell phone through the Kik application.
In November 2020, authorities learned that an individual under the username “wakatanga335” was distributing and receiving child pornography on Kik. A review of the material verified the user had distributed and received child pornography approximately nine times.
The investigation led to Morales. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at his McAllen home and discovered a cell phone containing child pornography.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo accepted the plea and set sentencing for June 21. At that time, Morales faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
FBI conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eliza Carmen Rodriguez is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a nationwide initiative the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section leads PSC, which marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and identifies and rescues victims. For more information about PSC, please visit DOJ’s PSC page. For more information about internet safety education, please visit the resources link on that page.
Updated March 21, 2023
Project Safe Childhood