Man charged with coercion of a minor in Las Cruces

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced today that Shah Mahmood Selab made an initial appearance in federal court on a criminal complaint charging him with coercion and enticement of a minor. Selab, 35, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, will remain in custody pending a detention hearing, which has not been scheduled.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 12, Selab allegedly approached a 12-year-old boy at Youngs Park in Las Cruces near a local middle school. The victim was sitting on a bench when Selab began asking the victim personal questions, and then invited the victim to sit with him on another bench in the shade. After moving to the other bench, Selab allegedly used his cellphone to show the victim photos and videos that were sexual in nature. Selab allegedly touched the victim inappropriately.

The victim attempted to walk away, but Selab allegedly followed him and punched him in the face multiple times. Selab allegedly asked the victim to get into his vehicle and offered the victim $20 to allow Selab to touch him.

The victim attempted to call 911 and retreated to the restrooms where he closed himself in a stall. The complaint alleges that Selab followed the victim into the restrooms and pulled him from the stall. Selab allegedly locked the restroom door to prevent the victim from leaving, began kissing the victim’s face, and put a $20 bill in the victim’s hand. Selab also allegedly attempted to force the victim to touch Selab.

After another person arrived at the restroom and knocked at the door, the victim escaped from Selab.

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A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Selab faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case with assistance from the Las Cruces Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Joni Autrey Stahl and Maria McCarthy Villalobos are prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.

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