Prosecutors: Man Created Alias On Social Media To Solicit Explicit Photos From Minors
A Mexican citizen who resides in Easton has pled guilty to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, 34-year-old Angel Gabriel Arroyo-Angelino used an alias to create a social media account and pretended to be a teenage boy. Prosecutors said he induced girls to produce and send to him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves.
The social media platform learned of Arroyo’s actions in May 2018, terminated the account and notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Easton Police obtained search warrants to search his home as well as online and phone accounts.
Law enforcement officers discovered that a young victim was offered money in exchange for sexually explicit photos.
Arroyo will be sentenced in October.
The U.S. Attorney’s office detailed the case in a news release:
According to his guilty plea, from December 24, 2017 through September 11, 2018, Arroyo used the alias “Elias Garcia” to create a social media account. Arroyo used the social media account to persuade, induce, and coerce four minor victims to produce and send him sexually explicit images and videos of themselves. Arroyo initiated contact with each of the minor victims on social media and told the victims that he was 16 years old. Arroyo used a profile picture depicting a teenaged boy to manipulate the minors he met online. Arroyo complimented the minors, sent them images of flowers and money, and made other romantic overtures to the minor victims. From these communications, Arroyo knew that the victims were underaged minors. Despite that knowledge, Arroyo persuaded the victims to send him nude images, often sending them cash in the mail if they sent the sexually explicit images and videos he requested.
The social media platform became aware of Arroyo’s misconduct in May of 2018 and terminated his Elias Garcia account. The social media platform also alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“NCMEC”) and submitted a Cybertip detailing a sexually explicit online conversation that Arroyo had with one of the victims, a 15-year-old female (Victim #3), which culminated in the minor sending Arroyo a sexually explicit video of herself.
After receiving the Cybertip, investigators at the Easton Police Department obtained a series of search warrants for online and phone accounts associated with the “Elias Garcia” persona, and after gathering additional information, obtained a search warrant to search Arroyo’s residence in Easton, Maryland on September 11, 2018. While executing the search warrant, detectives discovered a white envelope in Arroyo’s bedroom that contained a $50.00 bill. The envelope was addressed to an individual later identified as a 12-year-old female and Victim #3’s name was handwritten in the area where “sender” information is customarily placed. Investigators discovered that Arroyo had been engaging in communications with the 12-year-old minor through social media, offering her money in exchange of sexually explicit photos.
In addition to the white envelope, investigators also discovered a black cell phone hidden in Arroyo’s bedroom. A subsequent review of the contents of the cell phone revealed sexually explicit images of several of the minor victims, as well as evidence linking Arroyo to the “Elias Garcia” communications and to another alias “Emiel Quiross” Arroyo used to create an additional social media account. Investigators obtained a search warrant to search this newly discovered alias account and discovered that Arroyo used the “Emiel Quiross” account to coerce and entice two additional minor victims, Victim #5 and Victim #6, to produce and send to him, sexually explicit images of themselves. Arroyo employed a similar pattern to manipulate Victim #5 and Victim #6, by pretending to be a 16-year-old boy and offering the minor females cash in exchange for sending him close-up images of the victims’ genitals. The “Emiel Quiross” account was created by Arroyo after the social media platform shut down his “Elias Garcia” account.
On September 11, 2018, after voluntarily waiving his Miranda rights Arroyo agreed to speak with investigators. During the interview, Arroyo admitted that the cell phone and white envelope found in his bedroom belonged to him. Arroyo claimed that he was using the envelope to mail money to his “ex-girlfriend.” When asked why Victim #3’s name was handwritten on the top-left “sender” portion of the envelope, Arroyo denied knowing Victim #3, and claimed that he made up the name of a female to place on the envelope so his “ex-girlfriend’s” new boyfriend would not become suspicious regarding the source of the money she received in the envelope. During the interview, Arroyo used another alias when identifying himself to investigators and did not provide his real name.
Arroyo faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of life in prison for enticement and coercion of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. Chief United States District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for October 4, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
As stated in his plea agreement, upon his release from prison, Arroyo will be required to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”).
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 the United States Attorney’s 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, the Easton Police Department and the Talbot County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine Duey and Colleen E. McGuinn, who are prosecuting the federal case.