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United States of America v. Salvador Salas, Jr.
Judge: Scott W. Skavdahl
Court: United States District Court for the District of Wyoming (Laramie County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne
Description: Cheyenne, Wyoming criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with on one count of possession of child pornography and five counts of production of child pornography.
Salvador Salas Jr., age 32, was a longtime family friend who requested the minor victim, a 13-year-old girl, babysit in his home. While at Salas’s home, the girl’s mother called to check in on her frequently. Salas said the girl had developed an allergic reaction to something she ate, and he had given her allergy medication. Salas then sent the girl home in an Uber in the early morning hours. When the minor victim returned home, she showed obvious signs of illicit substance intoxication and appeared to have burns on her lips. Her mother sought emergency medical treatment at a local hospital where the girl was diagnosed with methamphetamine intoxication. It was then discovered that the girl had been sexually assaulted. The mother reported to the police that the minor victim had been with Salas at his home.
The Casper Police Department executed a search warrant at Salas’s home for evidence of drugs. Officers recovered methamphetamine, paraphernalia associated with methamphetamine use, cocaine, and buprenorphine. While there, officers developed probable cause to believe that Salas had taken sexually explicit images of the minor victim. Officers then executed a second search warrant and seized Salas’s electronic devices. The Wyoming Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) reviewed the devices and located child pornography, which had been downloaded from the internet, on Salas’s laptop and external hard drive. The downloaded child pornography featured graphic sexual abuse of prepubescent children. On Salas’s cellphone, ICAC Task Force members located additional child pornography, including video recordings and images of Salas sexually abusing the minor victim. In the audio that accompanies the videos, Salas can be heard repeatedly remarking that the victim was 13 years old. In addition to the video and photographic evidence, the Wyoming State Crime Laboratory recovered semen and Salas’s DNA from the victim’s underwear. When interviewed by law enforcement, Salas admitted that he engaged in sex acts with the minor victim and recorded it using his cellphone.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Casper Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christyne M. Martens and Stephanie I. Sprecher.
Outcome: Defendant was found guilty by a jury.