WARDEN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING AND PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
U.S. Department of Justice
Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Carlos Salgado Velasquez, age 30, of Warden, Washington, pleaded guilty on March 31, 2021 pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of Production of Child Pornography and one count of Child Sex Trafficking. In the plea agreement, Velasquez and the United States agreed to a sentence of 23 years in prison. Senior District Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen will decide whether to accept the plea agreement during the sentencing hearing set for July 6, 2021.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, beginning in September 2016 and continuing through September 2018, Velasquez engaged in conduct with four minor female victims within the Eastern District of Washington that constituted both the production of child pornography and child sex trafficking, in violation of federal law. Velasquez admitted that he knowingly took part in sexually explicit conduct with the four minor victims for the purpose of producing visual depictions of the sexually explicit conduct. Velasquez also admitted that he engaged in commercial sex acts with the four minor victims by soliciting them to engage in sexual intercourse with him in exchange for things of value. Velasquez solicited the four victims to engage in commercial sex acts with him by arranging to meet them using various internet communications platforms.
Acting United States Attorney Harrington said, “Crimes against children are one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice and will continue to be vigorously prosecuted in the Eastern District of Washington. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington commends the law enforcement officers with the Moses Lake Police Department, the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the United States Department of Homeland Security who investigated this case.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
· Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue children;
· Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
· Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
· Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
· Community awareness and educational programs.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
This case was investigated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes detectives from the Kennewick and Richland Police Departments, and the Moses Lake Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Ann T. Wick and James A. Goeke, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.