United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida

04/16/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/16/2024 08:12

Jacksonville Convicted Child Sex Offender Pleads Guilty To Producing Photos Depicting The Sexual Abuse Of A Child

Jacksonville, Florida - United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Andrew David Salas (36, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to producing photos depicting the sexual abuse of a minor child. Salas faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years, up to 50 years, in federal prison, and a potential lifetime term of supervised release. Salas is a registered sex offender, having been convicted of carnal knowledge of a minor child in Virginia in 2008. Salas was arrested on November 3, 2022, and has been in custody since that time. A sentencing hearing for Salas is scheduled for July 16, 2024.

According to court documents, in 2022, Salas used a web-based social media messaging platform to engage in an online conversation with a minor child who lived in Georgia. During this online conversation, Salas decided to drive from Florida to meet and pick up the child. On June 14, 2022, Salas drove from Jacksonville to an area near the child's residence and met the child, who was on foot, at a particular intersection and invited the child into his car. The child entered Salas's vehicle and told Salas that the child was underage. Salas then drove the child back to his residence in Jacksonville.

For more than four months, the child remained in Salas's residence, and Salas engaged in sexual activity with the child on several occasions. Salas also used and persuaded the child to pose for him as he took photos of the child in sexually explicit positions. He also took sexually explicit photos of the child while the child slept.

In November 2022, FBI agents in Jacksonville obtained geolocation data showing that an electronic device linked to Salas had been near the child's residence in Georgia on the evening of June 14, 2022. On November 3, 2022, an FBI agent and a detective with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) went to Salas's residence to make contact with Salas and attempt to locate the child. Salas was arrested and his cellphone was seized. Later that day, the child was located and rescued by law enforcement near Salas's residence and was returned safely to the child's family.

JSO detectives obtained a search warrant for Salas's residence and seized several computers and electronic devices. Meanwhile, the FBI obtained search warrants for, Salas's cellphone. A review of the phone's contents revealed information about the location of the child's residence, as well as text messages exchanged between Salas and the child. Salas's phone also contained sexually explicit photos of the child produced by Salas, as well as photos depicting other young children being sexually abused.

This case was investigated by the Carroll County (Georgia) Sheriff's Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Georgia Attorney General's Office, the United States Marshals Service, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Atlanta and Jacksonville), with assistance from the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.