(PUEBLO, Colo.) — A 25-year-old man was arrested in Pueblo for allegedly exploiting minors through social media, engaging in sexual encounters with victims as young as 10 years old. Following an FBI undercover investigation, the man is now facing federal charges.

The investigation was a collaborative effort between the Pueblo Police Department and the FBI which resulted in the arrest of Gabriel Leal. The FBI’s intervention came in the form of an undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl, a strategy that led to Leal’s apprehension.

The federal criminal complaint reveals that the FBI investigation was launched subsequent to the Pueblo Police Department’s discovery that Leal had used social media to meet a real 13-year-old girl in April, to have sex with her.

The 13-year-old victim told the FBI she explicitly told Leal her age. She said Leal sent her pictures of his genitals and had been persistent on coming over to her house. After messaging back and forth for a few days, she let him.

That night she reported that Leal had sex with her, where she told Pueblo Police Department officers she was, “feeling pain and wanted to scream but was scared.” She said Leal woke up around 4 a.m. and told her he needed to leave, but first had sex with her again.

In another instance, Pueblo officers responded to a home, on a report that a 10-year-old girl had received pictures and videos of a man masturbating. His messages stated he wanted pictures of her, in return, saying, “I’m sure you look hot.” According to the investigation, the messages were sent from Leal’s user name, after she told him she was 10 years old.

Following these reports and others from the Pueblo Police Department, the FBI had the grounds to get involved. An FBI special agent went undercover as a 13-year-old herself and reached out to Leal via social media.

Like clockwork, after finding out her age, Leal sent the FBI agent nude videos in hopes of getting something in return, saying things like “It’s only for me.” In response, the FBI agent engaged with Leal, sending him photos back, but fully clothed.

Before asking the FBI agent to meet up, Leal told her that he, “Likes girls your age [13 years old] for sex.”

On July 21, officers arrested Leal. Officers pulled up on him when he showed up at the Colorado Springs location the special agent gave him, where he thought he would be having sex with a 13-year-old virgin in his car.

According to the complaint, Leal could face life in prison for charges related to the actual 13-year-old victim, including sexual assault on a child, and internet exploitation of a child.

In a post-arrest interview with the FBI, Leal said he would, “make it right by writing an apology letter to the real 13-year-old victim.”

In the letter, he stated in part, “I’m sorry for all the pain I caused you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wanted to make you feel loved and special but in doing so I ignored all the bad and trauma I was doing to you. “

In the post-arrest interview, Leal revealed that he didn’t know his victim’s name.

Pueblo Police Sergeant Frank Ortega, urging parents to be aware of what their child is doing on social media, and to report internet crimes as soon as they are made aware of them.

“The longer it takes for you to report the crime, it makes it more complicated to gather evidence. That’s in any case, but especially so with internet crimes,” said Ortega.