Proceedings have been postponed in a federal case involving an 80-year-old Vallejo man accused of traveling to the Philippines with the intent to have illicit sex with a child and conspiring to do the same.
Balbino Guerrero Sablad, who was indicted on July 15 by a federal grand jury in Sacramento, was scheduled to attend a status conference on January 13; however, the judge adjourned the case to March 17, according to court records. Sablad remains in custody without bond in the Sacramento County Jail.
According to court documents, in 2019 Sablad flew to the western Pacific island nation with the intention of engaging in sex with a child under the age of 16, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said by interim for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.
Sablad allegedly had sexual conversations with the intended victim on Facebook and sent him at least $1,800 before traveling to the Philippines. He also allegedly discussed with a co-conspirator his plan to sexually abuse the victim once there, Talbert noted.
Sablad, who needs a Tagalog interpreter during court proceedings, was arrested by FBI agents in Sacramento on July 1 and pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set. His attorney is public defender Hannah Rose Labaree.
If convicted at trial, Sablad faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence will be determined at the discretion of the judge and according to federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Talbert said the case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
For more information about the Safe Childhood Project, visit usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information on Internet safety education.