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Press Release

Williamsburg man sentenced for soliciting sex with a minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A Williamsburg man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for attempted online coercion and enticement of a minor.

According to court documents, during an undercover operation targeting child exploitation and human trafficking, a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Task Force Officer from Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent posed as a female interested in sexual activity and “cash” on a website commonly used for escorts and adult services. On May 25, 2023, the agent was contacted via text message by Nico Mariano Villegas, 32. Believing he was communicating with a 14-year-old girl, Villegas arranged to meet her in Norfolk and pay her $150 for oral sex.

After exchanging photographs, including several pictures of himself, Villegas drove to the location where they had agreed to meet. When law enforcement attempted to conduct a traffic stop by activating their emergency lights and blocking Villegas’ vehicle, Villegas accelerated forward, striking the police vehicles, and later abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot. An HSI Task Force Officer from the Virginia State Police eventually located Villegas hiding behind a nearby retail store and arrested him.

HSI investigators discovered copies of the conversations and identified child sexual abuse material on Villegas’ phone.​

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Derek W. Gordon, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent; and Mack Hickman, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mozzi prosecuted the case.

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 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (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, please visit

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-120.


Press Officer

Updated July 2, 2024

Project Safe Childhood