EL PASO, Texas – A federal jury has convicted a 59-year-old truck driver of transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and of possession of child pornography, according to a June 29 statement released by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas.
Evidence presented during trial revealed that Travis Wayne Vavra was a long-haul truck driver who advertised free amusement park passes and cross-country trips for boys to explore the United States.
As a result of the advertisement, Vavra transported a minor in his tractor trailer from the El Paso, Texas, area to different states, including New Mexico, Missouri, Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Louisiana on several occasions between May 2015 and June 2019. Vavra sexually assaulted the minor during these cross-country trips which began when the victim was 9 years old.
Vavra had also previously molested two other victims, according to court records.
On the date of his arrest, Vavra had posted another flyer for parents and boys advertising these free cross-country trips. Vavra was also found to be in possession of child sexual abuse material on his phone at the time of his arrest.
Vavra remains in federal custody. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison on the transportation of minors charge, and up to 20 years in federal prison for the possession of child pornography. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Coburn made today’s announcement. The FBI investigated and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah Valenzuela and Richard Watts are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, which was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, 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, visit www.justice.gov/psc.