EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A St. Louis man has been sentenced to nearly 34 years in prison for sex offenses involving teens. Vallie Zeller, 46, was caught by an FBI agent posing as a 15-year-old online.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Illinois says that Zeller started messaging someone he thought was a teen in June 2020. The conversations with the agent posing as a girl lasted four days. He asked her for nude photos and other sexually explicit content. Zeller then crossed state lines to meet her in Collinsville.
Evidence presented at trial says that Zeller had previously been accused of having sexual contact with two minors in Florida. Agents found another instance of him sexting a minor on his phone.
“The defendant is a child predator, and our communities are better off with him spending time in federal prison,” states U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe.
Zeller is one of 14 suspects charged in 2020 during a law enforcement operation targeting online predators attempting to meet minors for sex.