Raleigh man sentenced after pretending to be teenage girl online to collect child porn

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh man will spend the next 20 years in prison after a federal judge says he posed as a teenage girl online to collect child pornography.

Ezekial Sandoval, 49, was named in a 12-count indictment on May 22, 2019, charging him with one count of child exploitation and manufacturing child pornography, 10 counts of receipt of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. 

On Nov. 13, 2019, he pled guilty to the child exploitation and manufacturing count. 

According to the investigation, on Sept. 3, 2017, a father located in Michigan reported to local police that his 11-year-old daughter had been sexually exploited online by an unknown individual. 

The victim had met the individual online and believed she was communicating with a teenage female named “Cindy.” 

Law enforcement reviewed the conversation on the victim’s phone and saw that the person going by “Cindy” encouraged the victim to self-produce multiple explicit images and videos. 

At “Cindy’s” request, the victim sent her the images and videos during a week-long span in late August 2017, according to court documents. 

Law enforcement determined that the telephone number for “Cindy” was in fact registered to the then-47-year-old Sandoval. Further surveillance was conducted and confirmed it was Sandoval’s phone number.

Investigators then conducted a search of Sandoval’s Raleigh home and seized a phone and other digital devices, documents showed.

On Sandoval’s phone, law enforcement located an account for the internet chat application Kik with the registered name “Cindy Baker.” FBI also recovered images that matched those sent from the Michigan victim.

Forensics further revealed that Sandoval had accessed links that contained other child pornography online, finding over 2,000 still images and 180 videos of child pornography across his various digital devices.

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