Department of Justice seal U.S. Department of Justice

Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-053

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

FOUNTAIN VALLEY ENGINEER PLEADS GUILTY TO USING INTERNET TO ENTICE 'MINOR' TO HAVE ILLEGAL SEX


Los Angeles, CA - An Orange County man who chatted extensively online with someone he thought was a 12-year-old girl has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, a crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison.

Daniel Ross Best, 52, of Fountain Valley, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

According to court documents, Best used his personal computer to correspond with an undercover FBI Agent he believed was a 7th-grade girl named Melissa. Best met Melissa when he entered an Internet chat room called "I Love Much Older Men." Using instant messaging, Best continued this liaison with the persona for approximately one month. During that time, Best used explicit sexual language in an attempt to induce Melissa to engage in sex.

Best was arrested in January after driving to a West Los Angeles shopping mall to meet Melissa.

Best pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Edward Rafeedie, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on August 28.

This investigation was conducted by the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement, or SAFE, Team, a task force which focuses on crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. The team is comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol.

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Release No. 06-053

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