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‘Sexually deviant’ McAllen businessman sentenced after paying minor to produce child porn

1 month 1 week 19 hours ago Thursday, April 11 2024 Apr 11, 2024 April 11, 2024 2:51 PM April 11, 2024 in News - Local

A 62-year-old McAllen businessman was sentenced to over 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In handing down the sentence, a federal judge described Luis Fabian Vela’s behavior as “sexually deviant,” the news release stated.

Vela was sentenced to 195 months in federal prison on Thursday after previously admitting to paying a 15-year-old girl to send him sexually explicit images.

According to the release, Vela used a financial account tied with Birdie Bistro — the restaurant he owns — to pay for the images.

A statement from Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig S. Larrabee also referred to Vela as a pharmacist.

“Vela is a prominent business owner who used his significant means to coerce minors into producing pornographic material of children for his own gratification, even going as far as instructing them how to take photographs of specific areas,” U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani stated in the news release. “He boasted about his wealth to get what he wanted, but there won’t be much of that now…at least for the next 16 years.”

Following his sentence, Vela will serve 10 years on supervised release, and must register as a sex offender.

“This sentence serves as an important reminder to our South Texas community that even a trusted pharmacist has the capability to coerce and entice a minor into producing child pornography,” Larrabee said in a statement to Channel 5 News.  “The exploitation and coercion revealed in this case was extremely disheartening. It is HSI’s mission to protect our youth by aggressively investigating individuals like these and bringing these defendants to justice.”

Vela will remain in custody pending his transfer to a prison facility, the release added.

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