NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man appeared in court today on charges of producing, receiving, and possessing images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Ramon Zelaya, 36, of Newark, is charged by indictment with one count of sexual exploitation of a child, one count of receiving child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography. Zelaya was initially charged by complaint in April 2019.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between Aug. 20, 2018, and Sept. 23, 2018, Zelaya used Instagram messages to entice, threaten, and coerce a minor into creating and sending him sexually explicit images and videos. Zelaya also used multiple Facebook accounts to contact the victim’s parent and to send at least nude image of the victim.
The charge of sexual exploitation of a child carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The charge of receipt of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possession of child pornography carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael, and officers of the Union City Police Department, under the direction of Chief Nichelle Luster, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Mario Blanch Esq., West New York, New Jersey