Nine Arrested During Online Solicitation Investigation Face Federal Charges
AMARILLO, Texas — Nine men who were arrested this past weekend during a multi-agency investigation into online solicitation now face federal charges, announced John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Each of the following defendants has been charged in a separate federal complaint, just unsealed, with attempted enticement of a child. Each made his initial appearance in federal court yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte.
Aaron Joe Davis, 38
Jeffery Robert Abraham, 31
Kolby Shelb Kemp, 21
Mario Simental, 27
Brad Eugene Sharber, 44
Daniel Lee Garcia, 37
Robert James Tidwell, 20
Charles Alexander Diaz, 20
Kyle Andrew Adair, 22
All are residents of Amarillo, Texas, with the exception of defendant Tidwell, who is a Pampa, Texas, resident.
According to the complaints filed, at some time during the period January 29, 2015, and Jan 31, 2015, the defendants communicated via email and/or text messaging with an individual they believed to be 14 years-of-age. In all but one case, the defendant believed the 14-year-old was female. In at least one incident, the defendant sent a sexually explicit photograph to the individual they believed to be 14-years-old. In all instances, a meeting time and place was arranged, and in all but two instances, the defendant was arrested at the location. Defendant Davis was arrested after fleeing and leading officers and agents on a vehicle pursuit through Amarillo. Defendant Garcia was arrested after leading officers and agents on a brief foot chase.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The statutory penalty for the offense as charged is not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The government has 30 days to present the case to a federal grand jury for indictment.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, which was 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 Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/ and click on the tab “resources.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Amarillo Police Department, Randall County Sheriff’s Department, Potter County Sheriff’s Department, West Texas A&M Police Department, Canyon Police Department, the Amarillo and Randall County District Attorney’s Offices, and the U.S. Marshals Service are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua Frausto and Tim Hammer are in charge of the prosecution.