Harlingen man charged with child exploitation via social media

HARLINGEN — A 21-year-old Harlingen man has been accused of using a social media app to entice a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl to a motel.

Alejandro Moya was indicted on charges of  coercion and enticement of a minor, federal authorities said Wednesday.

He originally was charged by criminal complaint as he arrived at a local motel to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Wednesday, a federal grand jury returned the indictment. He is expected to appear in court June 13 for his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker.

The complaint alleges that beginning May 9 of this year, Moya enticed an individual he believed to be a 13-year-old girl on the social media apps Kik and Whisper. Moya allegedly sent multiple unsolicited sexually explicit images and videos of himself, requesting to meet at a motel in Pharr.

The charges allege that in those conversations, he described sexual acts he desired upon meeting.

He was taken into custody as he arrived at the motel.

Moya has been in custody since his arrest. At a detention hearing May 17, the court found he was a danger to the community and ordered he remain in custody.

If convicted, Moya faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation as part of the Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitation Investigations Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Belt and Andrew Henning are prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.