United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Four Sacramento Men Charged With Attempting To Entice A Minor To Engage In Prohibited Sexual Conduct
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Thursday, June 28, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury indicted four men charging them with attempting to entice a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. The men were identified while they were online seeking to have sex with minors. In each case, the men allegedly traveled to meet the fictional minor where they were arrested by law enforcement.
These cases are the result of an undercover investigation by the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force; with assistance provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Sacramento ICAC is a federally and state-funded task force managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department with agents from federal, state, and local agencies. The Sacramento ICAC investigates online child exploitation crimes, including child pornography, enticement, and sex trafficking. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the cases.
Brandon Marks, 25, of Rancho Cordova, was indicted by the grand jury on June 21, 2012, and was charged with attempted enticement of a minor and two counts of receipt and two counts of distribution of child pornography.
Nicholas Perry, 34, of Sacramento, and Eric Johnston, 21, of Folsom, were indicted by the grand jury on June 28, 2012 and charged with a single count of attempted enticement of a minor.
According to court documents, task force members responded to an online advertisement placed by Marks. An undercover agent arranged to bring a fictional 13-year-old girl to a local hotel for Marks to have sex with the minor. Upon Marks’ arrival at the hotel, he was arrested. Marks also sent to law enforcement multiple images of child pornography using his email.
Court documents allege that Marks contacted Perry to tell him about the planned meeting with the fictional 13-year-old girl and put him in touch with the undercover agent. Perry then arranged a meeting at a local hotel to have sex with the girl. Perry suggested to the undercover agent that Johnston could participate, and provided Johnston with contact information for the undercover agent.
Johnston contacted the undercover agent and asked to participate in the meeting that Perry had set up with the 13-year-old. Upon Johnston’s arrival at the hotel the following day, he was arrested. Perry arrived approximately 45 minutes later and was also taken into custody.
Michael Adam Cruz, 22, of Oroville, was indicted by the grand jury on June 28, 2012 and charged with a single count of attempted enticement of a minor.
According to court documents, task force members responded to an online advertisement placed by Cruz seeking a partner for sadistic and masochistic sexual acts who looked like a minor. Cruz then initiated contact with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a 13-year-old. Cruz arranged to meet the fictional girl in Oroville in order to have sex with her and her fictional 13-year-old friend. Cruz was arrested upon his arrival at the meeting location in Oroville.
If convicted, the defendants face sentences of 10 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime term of supervised release. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”