Undocumented immigrant sentenced to federal prison for child sex crimes

Undocumented immigrant sentenced to federal prison for child sex crimes
Victor Zelaya-Funez, 38, of Honduras, was sentenced to 185 months in federal prison after he was convicted for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An undocumented immigrant, who had been living in Zachary, LA, has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after being convicted for child sex crimes.

U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin said Victor Zelaya-Funez, 38, of Honduras, was sentenced to 185 months in federal prison after he was convicted for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

Zelaya-Funez was also sentenced to five years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

The court has ordered the electronic devices Zelaya-Funez used to facilitate his crimes be forfeited to law enforcement.

A jury unanimously found Zelaya-Funez guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography in June.

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 Zelaya-Funez told the victim he cared for her and promised to provide her with various things of value in exchange for additional sexually explicit material.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Fremin said

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.

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