SACRAMENTO : A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment Thursday against Balbino Sablad, 79, of Vallejo, charging him with traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and conspiring to do the same, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in 2019, Sablad flew to the Philippines with the intention of engaging in sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16. Sablad had engaged in sexual chats with the intended victim over Facebook and had sent her at least $1,800 prior to his travel to the Philippines. He had also discussed with a co-conspirator his plan to sexually abuse the victim in the Philippines.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mira Chernick is prosecuting the case.
Sablad was arrested on July 1, 2021.
If convicted, Sablad faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case 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. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet-safety education.