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Press Release

Florida Man Found Guilty of Attempted Enticement of a Minor

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota

RAPID CITY - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that a jury has convicted James Dean Hanapel, age 22, of Jacksonville, Florida, of Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet following a 3-day jury trial in federal district court in Rapid City, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on April 13, 2023.

The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine, five years up to lifetime of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Hanapel was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2021. 

Evidence at trial established that Hanapel was arrested as a result of an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2021 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting internet predators. Following his sending of multiple chats and sexually explicit text messages to a person Hanapel believed to be a 14-year-old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent, Hanapel negotiated a time and place he would meet the minor to engage in unlawful sex acts. When Hanapel arrived at the pre-determined location to meet the person he believed was the minor, he was instead met by law enforcement agents and placed under arrest.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

This case was investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, Homeland Security Investigations, Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah B. Collins prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date has not been set. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated April 18, 2023

Project Safe Childhood