Former South Texas Deputy Going to Prison for Second Term on Child Pornography Charges, Used Minecraft Game to Lure Victims
A 29-year-old Beeville resident has been sentenced for producing and possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Pasquale Salas was a former deputy with the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office at the time of his crimes. He pleaded guilty June 6.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown has now ordered him to serve 360 and 24 months for the production and possession convictions, respectively. They will run consecutively for a total 384-month-term of imprisonment. In handing down the prison terms, the court noted that the fact Salas was a law enforcement officer weighed heavily on him. Salas was further ordered to serve 15 years on supervised release following completion of his prison term. During that time, he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
He was previously sentenced to 220 months in prison in a related case in the District of Massachusetts. The term imposed today will run concurrently to that sentence for a total federal prison term of 384 months.
“Salas used Minecraft, a child’s game, to lure some of his victims inside his vicious web,” said Hamdani. “Not only did he exploit young girls, but he also violated the public trust. He was a law enforcement officer who was sworn to protect and serve. Instead, he chose to manipulate and exploit young girls for his own deviant sexual gratification. The sentence handed down today will make sure he can’t access the places our children play online or have contact with them in person for decades to come.”
“For years, Pasquale Salas controlled, manipulated, sexually assaulted, and remotely monitored his underage victims,” said FBI Houston Acting Special Agent in Charge David Martinez. “Salas disgracefully used his status as a Texas lawman to threaten young girls into sending hundreds of sexually explicit photos and videos. Thanks to the bravery of his victims who came forward, Salas now sits behind bars unable to ever again target, threaten, or molest other children.”
The investigation began after authorities learned Salas had been communicating with a minor in Massachusetts for years, beginning when she was just 12 years old. Salas met her and another minor female online while playing Minecraft.
Over the years, he developed a controlling, manipulative and sexually exploitive relationship with the victim. He knew her true age, but still had a virtual, but sexually-explicit relationship with the child. During that time, he made her send hundreds of nude photos and videos of herself, required her to follow specific strict rules and to wear only clothing he approved. He also tracked her location. Sales threatened the victim’s well-being and that of her family if she left him.
In July 2019, authorities executed a search warrant in Southern District of Texas as part of the Massachusetts investigation. At that time, they found incriminating evidence on his phone, including child pornography of several minor females, including that of minor female relative.
Forensic analysis revealed he produced those images of the relative. She identified herself and the hands of Salas in the images/videos. In one video, he appears to be fondling the victim. She is asleep in all of the images and videos he produced.
He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined on the near future.
FBI Texas City conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office and Pearland Police Department as well as FBI in the Boston/Worcestor area and Worcestor Police Department in Massachusetts.