Feb. 1, 2023 By Bill Parry
An Astoria man was arraigned in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday on a superseding indictment charging him with child exploitation and firearm possession as a felony.
Angel Almeida, 22, was arrested in November 2021 on a complaint charging him with the sexual exploitation and attempted exploitation of a minor, coercion and enticement and attempted coercion and enticement of a minor, possession of child pornography, and possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon, according to federal prosecutors.
Almeida was originally indicted in December 2021 and has been detained pending trial.
According to court filings, in September 2021 and October 2021, the FBI received tips regarding Almeida possessing firearms and posting sexually explicit images of children online. The tipster identified social media profiles used by Almeida, including a Facebook account with the profile name “Sargent Grey” known as the Sargent Account, according to the feds. A review of the Sargent Account, as well as Instagram accounts used by Almeida, revealed photos of Almeida holding what appeared to be firearms.
On Nov. 23, 2021, members of law enforcement executed a search warrant at Almeida’s residence and recovered a 9mm Taurus handgun that appeared to be the same firearm that the defendant had posed with. Almeida has a 2019 felony conviction in Florida for burglary. As a result, in December 2021, Almeida was charged in an indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In addition, from July 2021 to December 2021, Almeida enticed a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing videos, according to court filings. Between February 2020 and November 2021, Almeida also enticed another minor to engage in sexual conduct, a violation of the federal Mann Act. In addition to the enticement and coercion charges, Almeida is also charged with possession of child pornography recovered from multiple cell phones.
“The defendant’s alleged exploitation of minors has been extremely harmful mentally, emotionally, and physically to his victims,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “His possession of a firearm despite a felony conviction, combined with his crimes against minors, reflect Almeida’s dangerousness and lack of respect for the law. Protecting the community from predators like the defendant will always be a priority of this office. Additionally, I urge parents and caregivers to have conversations with their children about the dangers of communicating online with strangers and individuals who seek to exploit them.”
If convicted on the charges, Almeida faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and up to life in prison.
“As alleged, Almeida posed multiple threats to our community, not only as a felon in possession of a firearm but also through targeting children as victims of sexual abuse,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll said. “Today’s indictment serves as a reminder that the FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue and hold accountable anyone willing to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
The government’s investigation is ongoing, and Driscoll urged anyone with information about sexual exploitation by Almeida to contact the Bureau at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.