You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 13, 2018

Jury convicts California man of traveling to Atlanta to have sex with a nine-year-old child

ATLANTA - Craig Alan Castaneda has been found guilty by a jury of traveling from San Diego to Atlanta to have sex with a nine-year-old girl and of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

“Prosecuting child predators is one of this office’s highest priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We are proud of the work that our law enforcement partners do in pursuing these predators, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to work with them to bring these persons to justice.”

“This conviction is another example of the lengths child predators will go to prey on our children,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “It is also an example of the FBI’s determination to pursue them. We hope it also serves as a warning to predators who feel they can act out on the internet without fear of being caught.” 

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: In early April 2015, an FBI agent acting in an undercover capacity posted an ad on Craigslist in which he portrayed himself as a mother in search of a “teacher” for her nine-year-old daughter. The defendant responded to the ad the next day and described his previous experience in molesting children, including a child as young as four years old. He also said that he was “grooming” (that is, preparing) another child to be molested but that the family had moved away a few months earlier.

The defendant continued to communicate with the undercover agent for the next several weeks, and he made plans to travel from San Diego, California, to Atlanta, Georgia. In one of his final communications with the undercover agent before boarding a plane, he instructed the mother to obtain sex toys and lubricant. FBI agents met the defendant when he arrived at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on May 2, 2015, and arrested him.

Craig Alan Castaneda, 39, of Imperial Beach, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia, June 2, 2015, on one count of traveling from another state to engage in sexual activity with a child under the age of 12 years, and one count of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Castaneda was convicted by a federal jury a three day trial.  Sentencing for Castaneda has not yet been scheduled.

This case is being investigated by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Hartigan and Paul R. Jones are prosecuting the case.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Attorney General launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated December 13, 2018