28-year-old Adrian Vela has been sentenced for charges related to sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography, as announced by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani. Vela pleaded guilty on February 2, 2023.
U.S. District Judge David S. Morales handed down a 300-month prison term for the possession of child pornography and a concurrent 240-month term for production convictions. The court emphasized the severity of the case, acknowledging the lasting impact on victims, stating, "the pain, anguish, damage to the victims does not end… it will always exist." Vela is also ordered to pay $27,000 in restitution to the victims and will be under supervised release for 25 years after serving his prison term. During this period, he will face restrictions on his access to children and the internet and will be required to register as a sex offender.
The case unfolded after law enforcement discovered child pornography images and videos uploaded online, leading to Vela. A subsequent search warrant for his home resulted in Vela admitting to possessing and producing child pornography. Vela is currently in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, the location of which is yet to be determined. The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Overman and John Marck prosecuted 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.