Incredible, years long police work by PSP in Chambersburg nails alleged sextortionist

08 February 2024- New details have emerged into how a Florida resident and native of Ecuador was able to sextort multiple underage Franklin County girls for years. Alvaro Andres Valarezo Sandoval is charged with 26 felonies, including unlawful contact with a minor, photographing a sex act with a child, criminal solicitation, child pornography, dissemination of explicit child sexual material, corruption of minors, and criminal use of a communications facility. Due to public safety and flight risk concerns, Valarezo Sandoval was denied bail by MDJ Rock this month.

Pennsylvania State Police have been investigating this case, they say, since they took a report of unwanted messages being sent was taken on November 20th, 2019. Troopers met with the victim, who said she was a then 7th grader when the initial contact took place, who said she was contacted by an unknown individual through Skype. That person claimed to be international pop star Harry Styles. Deceiving the girl, who was between 12-14 at this time, was told to send messages of a sexual nature of herself to the fake Harry Styles. This continues every month from approximately 2013-2015.

A short time after this initial contact, the victim was contacted by a generic username on Snapchat. That user, with the user ID of mark0047, was later determined to be Alvaro Valarezo Sandoval. That man then asked for explicit pictures of the victim, to which she denied the request. Soon after, that same user told the victim that if she didn’t send pictures, another juvenile relative of hers should send him images instead. Valarezo Sandoval, under the guise of the “mark” user, threatened to release the previously taken explicit pictures of the victim from her messages with the phony “Harry Styles”. After sending a picture she had previously taken and sent to “Styles”, she realized that “Mark” and “Harry” were the same people.

On February 9th of 2021, a cybertip was filed to PSP that “Mark”, using a previously known Instagram profile, had contacted the victim again. Because of this, Snapchat was contacted and records were obtained by PSP to investigate “Mark”.

Troopers say that they obtained Snapchat records that showed “Mark” was in contact with a number of users, who identified themselves as anywhere between 13 years and 18 years old. Most of the communications, they say, wee sexual in nature with “Mark” asking for the material himself. In addition to asking, “Mark” allegedly attempted to and successfully sexually extorted several juvenile victims for more images and videos. Police detail how Valarezo Sandoval, or “Mark”, would manipulate the victims until he would try to use images and videos as blackmail leverage.

Police detail one instance of this happening, with Valarezo Sandoval being confronted digitally by a minor victim’s friends after the exploitation was discovered. Valarezo Sandoval allegedly told them “I’m not from the US and I’m underage. Cops won’t spend resources finding a random dude overseas. They have bigger fish to worry about”. Valarezo Sandoval, when pressed about being charged overseas, reportedly responded “you’re misinformed. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. I’m overseas. There’s something called jurisdiction”. Immediately after this exchange, Valarezo Sandoval allegedly continued to press for more explicit content and threatened the victim more.

PSP Investigators say that Valarezo Sandoval would use alias accounts on Snapchat to communicate with and sexually extort users across the world. Valarezo Sandoval would use these alias accounts to befriend minors, then successfully extort numerous other victims.

Many of the victims were from the areas around Franklin County, including one 17 year old in Chambersburg. In total, Valarezo Sandoval reportedly had victims in Hamilton, Saint Thomas, Guilford, and Greene Township in Franklin County.

Continuing the investigation, Troopers were able to find a burner email address associated to one of the alias accounts reportedly belonging to Valarezo Sandoval. That address, however, had an IP address associated with its creation. That creation, PSP say, occurred in 2016 in Ecuador. Additionally, the DOB associated with the email was the same as Valarezo Sandoval. Another IP address connected to an Instagram believed to be Valarezo Sandoval’s was registered from AT&T, Comcast, Florida Atlantic University, and other ISPs in Ecuador.

The IP addresses linked to Valarezo Sandoval eventually PSP contacting Drexel University PD on July 27th, 2022. It was confirmed that Valarezo Sandoval was a former student that had phone numbers and emails that were associated with the alias Snapchat and Instagram accounts. This was also confirmed with the Florida Atlantic University PD, who were able to corroborate the information and also confirm that Valarezo Sandoval was a former student at that school. It was determined that Valarezo Sandoval had attended both Drexel and FAU in the United States as an international transfer student from Ecuador.

PSP were also able to identify Valarezo Sandoval directly featured in an article by FAU’s student newspaper, the University Press. Valarezo Sandoval was seen in a photography sheltering from Hurricane Irma while he was a student, with the article directly describing him as a “27 year(s) old and an international transfer student from from Ecuador”. PSP were even able to track Valarezo Sandoval’s movements based off a Trip Advisor review of a Hampton Inn and Suites at Miami Airport from 2021. During that stay, which he attests to on his review, he reportedly used one of his alias/alleged blackmail Instagram accounts.

US I.C.E. was also contacted to confirm Valarezo Sandoval’s status during the times of the alleged crimes. I.C.E. reportedly confirmed he had a student visa from Ecuador when he attended Drexel from 2011-2014 and FAU from 2017 to 2020.

Alvaro Andres Valarezo Sandoval is behind bars in Franklin County on bail denied. His preliminary hearing is set for February 13th.

Sources: Docket Number: MJ-39303-CR-0000015-2024, Incident No.: PA 2019-1538325