Boynton Beach police officer Gabriel Albala was arrested on August 29 by the FBI for allegedly buying child pornography from an Alabama man who recently pleaded guilty to multiple child pornography charges.
Albala, 45, faces federal charges of child pornography. He is being held without bond in Broward County’s Main Jail. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to the federal indictment, FBI agents became aware of Albala through an ongoing investigation that began in August 2018, and led to a guilty plea from David A. Drake of Alabama on a five-count federal indictment for the advertisement, sale, and possession of child pornography.
Federal agents allege that Albala bought child porn from Drake. As part of his plea agreement, Drake reportedly gave investigators information about his porn sales, and that eventually led them to the Boynton Beach deputy.
Drake purportedly used his Tumblr page to direct users to a separate website, where he sold child pornography for between $10 and $50. He reportedly used Amazon, Venmo, and the Cash App for the transactions.
He told agents that he instructed his customers to say the transactions were for “tutoring, books, or other college-related expenses” because he was a college student, and he believed it would mask the true nature of the transactions.
The FBI agents went through Drake’s Venmo records and identified a user who made multiple payments to him in September and October 2018. The payments were from an IP address and bank account that have reportedly been linked to Albala.
The agents found Albala’s home in Margate, FL, in July 2019. They reportedly noticed a Boynton Beach Police Department vehicle parked in front of the house. There was no one at home, and a neighbor told them that Albala was out of town for a funeral.
They returned in August 2019 with a warrant to search the house, and this time Albala was home. They purportedly found a desktop computer that contained multiple child porn files, the indictment indicates.
The agents believe Albala “knowingly, willfully, and intentionally possessed” pictures that showed “minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” They interviewed him on the morning of August 29 and arrested him on the same day without incident.
Sources indicate that Albala has been relieved of duty. Boynton Beach Police Chief Michael Gregory released the following statement to the press:
“When the trust we have built with our community is threatened, it is paramount that we hold those responsible accountable, and provide the transparency our community deserves. Moving forward, the department will continue to cooperate and assist the FBI as needed.”
Possession of child pornography is a serious charge that carries severe penalties. A conviction typically involves a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, and lifetime registration in the national sex offender registry. It is crucial for defendants charged with possession of child pornography to hire an experienced attorney who can come up with strategies for minimizing, and possibly completely eliminating, the penalties of a conviction.
Boynton Beach Child Pornography Attorney
If you are involved in a child pornography case, then you should hire an attorney. Contact us to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of Palm Beach County’s most experienced child pornography attorneys.