LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A local area man was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in federal prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting a child, producing images of the sexual abuse, and possessing hundreds of images and videos of the sexual assaults. The punishment was the result of a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
Andres Rafael Viola, 36, an Argentine citizen residing in Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in February 2020 to sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography. In addition to imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II sentenced Viola to a lifetime term of supervised release. Under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Viola must register as a sex offender. Viola’s sentence also includes a $10,000 assessment pursuant to the Justice of Victims of Trafficking Act.
According to court documents, in May 2019, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a report from Yahoo, Inc. indicating that a user received child pornography sent by Viola, who was using the dark web Tor network to distribute images of child sexual assault.
On June 7, 2019, federal law enforcement arrested Viola at his Las Vegas residence. Law enforcement determined that Viola had supervisory control over a child victim. A forensic examination of electronic devices that were seized from Viola’s home revealed nearly 350 child pornography images and video, including Viola’s sexual exploitation of the child victim and a curated collection of child pornography from other victims. Viola had used the dark web to distribute, trade, and share the child sexual assault materials he created of the child victim.
For the hands-on offenses related to the child victim, Viola pleaded guilty in Nevada state court to one count of Sexual Assault of a Child under the Age of 14.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bianca Pucci and Elham Roohani prosecuted the case.
HSI is a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. Prior to the creation of the agency in 2003, legacy U.S. Customs special agents investigated the disbursement of illegal child pornography that was often sent by mail or purchased overseas.
With the advent of the Internet, the sharing and trading of child pornography now primarily occurs online. In addition to the legacy expertise, HSI special agents also have the authority to investigate the illegal movement of people and goods across U.S. borders, and because the Internet is borderless, the sharing of contraband online is an international crime. An image on the Web of a child being sexually abused can be seen by anyone anywhere in the world.
Operation Predator draws on the agency's unique investigative and enforcement authorities to safeguard children. And, with 200 U.S. offices and more than 70 offices overseas, HSI has the ability to follow a case – to rescue a victim or arrest a predator – wherever in the world it may lead.
Collaborating with law enforcement partners around the country and the world, Operation Predator brings together an array of resources to target these child predators. To learn more about HSI and Operation Predator, visit https://www.ice.gov/predator.