Tampa, Florida – Two men pleaded guilty on Friday in child pornography cases linked to MacDill Air Force Base. Both cases were prosecuted by U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III.
Erich Clifford Mandell Ramos, 27, of 1708 Billy Mitchell Loop, Tampa, pleaded guilty to production of child pornography, according to a release from Bentley's office. He faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.
Mandell Ramos, according to the plea agreement, sexually abused a minor while visiting a home at MacDill. He took sexually explicit photographs of the minor victim, told her not to tell her mother, and paid the minor approximately $20.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In the second case, Michael C. Vella, 36, of 11613 Addison Chase Drive, Riverview, pleaded guilty to production of child pornography. He faces a minimum of 15 years and up to a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, a 16-year-old girl told authorities that Vella had been forcing her to have sex with him since mid-2012. She said that Vella had at least once recorded their sexual activity on his laptop.
Vella was deployed to Afghanistan as a contractor when the arrest warrant was issued.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.