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Press Release

Arizona Man Sentenced to 46 Months in Prison for Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Jonathan John James was sentenced to 46 months in prison. James, 59, of Tsaile, Arizona, pleaded guilty to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct on April 5, 2023.

According to court documents, on April 20, 2022, James followed a child as she shopped with her grandfather at a Home Depot in Gallup, New Mexico. When her grandfather went to the bathroom, James approached the child, told her she was attractive and gave her his telephone number, written on a wet wipe package, in hopes they would communicate. The child told her grandfather what had occurred and provided a physical description of James.

Afterwards, the grandfather began communicating with James. He told James his name was “Simone,” he was 11 years old, and would turn 12 years old next week. The communication became sexual in nature and James shared he did not care that “Simone” was only 11 years old. After about a week, the grandfather called the FBI and consented to a search of his phone and for them to assume the identity of “Simone” and continue communicating with James.

James’s communications with the FBI continued to be sexual in nature. James sent adult pornography – approximately 25 images, including an image that is likely of his own penis - and requested to meet up so he could perform sexual acts on “Simone.” James shared he lived near Tsaile, Arizona, but could come to Gallup, New Mexico to meet with “Simone.” James stated the graphic sexual things he planned to do to “Simone” when they met up. They formed a plan to meet on May 5, 2022, and “Simone” requested that he bring a Dr. Pepper for her when they met in the park, and he replied he would bring her a bracelet too.

When James arrived at the meeting time in the park, the FBI arrested him. James possessed a bracelet and a Dr. Pepper. James waived his rights and admitted he was at the park because he drove across state lines to engage in sexual activities with a 12-year-old named “Simone.” He also confirmed his cell phone number. As part of the search of his vehicle law enforcement found two types of condoms and a USB thumb drive.

Upon his release from prison, James will be subject 5 years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the FBI Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas J. Marshall is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC).

PSC is a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s 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 exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

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Updated December 21, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 23-295