SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Utah Highway Patrol troopers found a man in possession of 13 gigabytes of child pornography after responding to a crash on I-15 Tuesday.
Luis David Nivelo, 20, was arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor (first-degree felony), money laundering (second-degree felony), and three other charges relating to drug possession.
Shortly before 3 a.m. on Jan. 31, troopers responded to a report of a crash near mile marker 40 on southbound I-15.
The probable cause affidavit states that the car “had struck the wall and was now facing the wrong way.” Upon arriving at the scene, troopers found the two men involved in the single-vehicle crash sitting inside another car to stay warm.
The driver, Nivelo, reportedly could not provide identification initially and told one trooper that “he was just driving when the car suddenly began sliding,” causing him to lose control and crash, the affidavit states.
The trooper states that this story “drew his attention” as he had not seen any snow or ice on the way to the crash and that he had driven to the scene “at approximately 100-120 MPH.”
The trooper states that he became “extremely suspicious” of criminal activity and requested another trooper to the scene to deploy a police service dog for a free-air sniff of the vehicle.
The police dog then indicated the odor of controlled substances, the affidavit states, and the troopers began to investigate.
One trooper reportedly noticed the passenger “holding a black backpack that he had been carrying around diligently the entire time” he was on the scene, and the trooper asked what was inside the backpack.
The passenger reportedly replied that it was “only clothing,” and that troopers could look inside. The trooper then grabbed the backpack and felt a “large box” inside, which contained “about $30,000” in large rubber-banded stacks, the affidavit states.
Troopers also found a box of eight “Cookies and Cream” magic mushroom chocolate bars and two empty packages for the bars inside the bag.
In searching the back seat of the crashed vehicle, troopers also found a poster “advertising an underground internet-based dispensary with a Telegram QR code to purchase items,” the affidavit states.
Police say Telegram is a common social media method for drug sales to be facilitated.
After taking Nivelo and the passenger back to the UHP office for further interview, Nivelo initially “denied having Telegram on his cellphone,” but ultimately admitted he did have it downloaded to his device.
Police obtained a search warrant for the cellphone regarding the narcotics, and when opening Telegram, they reportedly found “photographs and videos of pre-pubescent male and female children, along with adolescents and teenagers” involved in sex acts.
Police say one file contained 13 GB of child pornography, noting that there was evidence Nivelo “messaged the distributors of the images and confirmed payment for the images.”
Nivelo admitted to possessing the child pornography and reportedly told police that he knew “the possession and viewing of such material was wrong.”
Nivelo was out on bail for two felony firearms charges in California during the time of his arrest. He was booked into the Washington County Jail on the charges previously stated.
No further information is available at this time.