PHOENIX – An active duty U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant reservist made his initial appearance in state court Monday afternoon following his arrest for one count of attempted child prostitution and two counts of aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation.
Brandon Quinn Vasquez, 31, was taken into custody June 20 by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“All investigations involving the exploitation of children are shocking, but this case is particularly troubling, given the accused’ position of public trust,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “HSI is committed to relentlessly pursuing child predators and holding them accountable for their crimes.”
According to the affidavit, Vasquez began communicating in an internet chat room with undercover investigators posing as 16-year-old girl. During these conversations, Vasquez stated he worked with the U.S. Air Force and allegedly expressed interest in meeting the teen to engage in sexual activity.
On June 13, Vasquez allegedly messaged the undercover special agent he believed was a teen stating he knew engaging in sexual activity with her was illegal, but asked her to keep their encounter a secret. In return he allegedly promised to give the “girl” an Air Force-issued ribbon that read “remove before flight.” The following days, Vasquez allegedly sent the undercover investigator two lewd pictures of himself in his Air Force uniform.
Anyone with information about the defendant – or his internet chatroom handle “justfunstuff1” – is encouraged to call HSI’s toll-free tip line 1-866-2DHS-ICE [1-866-234-7423].
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of luring of a minor for sexual exploitation and attempted child prostitution, Vasquez would face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a potential maximum penalty of up to 24 years.
This case is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Blaine Gadow of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.