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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 24, 2022

Missouri Man Receives 35-year Federal Sentence for Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

BENTON, Ill. – Jason Dominik Tyler Rodriquez, 38, of East Prairie, Missouri, was sentenced to a 
total of 420 months in prison on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, after a federal jury found him guilty 
in November of 2021 of trying to have sex with an 8-year-old girl and transporting child 
pornography.

According to court  documents and evidence presented at  trial, Rodriguez, formerly known as Jason 
Tyler Smith, chatted online for four days on an online dating application and had a telephone 
conversation with what he thought was a father willing to allow strangers to have sex with his 
8-year-old daughter for $150. The purported  father  was  actually  an  FBI  agent.  During  the  
conversations,  Rodriguez  indicated  his  interest  in traveling to Marion, Illinois, from St. 
Louis, Missouri, to meet the father and the purported victim and engage in sexual acts with her. On 
March 26, 2020, Rodriguez left St. Louis, Missouri, where he was employed as a nurse, and arrived 
at a business in Marion, Illinois. Law enforcement agents promptly arrested Rodriguez. After his 
arrest, agents found $150 in cash on Rodriguez and an unopened bag of candy in his automobile. 
Rodriguez had previously been told the 8-year-old would expect candy before having sex with him.   
After his arrest, the agents also discovered Rodriguez had a cellphone in his possession with over 
20,000 videos and pictures of child pornography.

“Federal law enforcement conducts these sting operations so that would-be child molesters are 
aggressively prosecuted after they take affirmative steps to abuse a child, but before they can do 
immeasurable damage,” said United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

This case was brought  as part  of Project  Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 
2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and 
abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation 
and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to 
locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and 
rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. 
For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on 
the tab “resources.”

The Investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Springfield Division, and the United States Marshals Service.

Updated March 24, 2022