Jury Convicts La Feria Man of Sexual Enticement of a Minor
LAREDO, Texas – A federal jury sitting in Laredo has convicted a 40-year-old man from La Feria of attempting to entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before finding Daniel Melton guilty today.
During trial, the jury heard from a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) who testified she responded to a Craigslist posting Melton had placed. That post sought a “young teen that needs to be trained or has little experience.” The agent then engaged in sexually-explicit conversations with Melton for more than two weeks. During those conversations, he sent sexually-explicit pictures to the undercover agent and requested they be shown to a minor.
Eventually, Melton agreed to meet the agent in Laredo for the purpose of engaging in sex with the mother and the minor daughter. Law enforcement arrested him upon his arrival in Laredo.
Melton admitted he posted the Craigslist advertisement and engaged in sexually explicit communications with whom he believed to be a real mother and minor daughter. He further acknowledged he likely would have had sex with the minor daughter had ne not been arrested.
U.S. District Judge George Kazen presided over the trial and will set sentencing at a later date. At the time of his sentencing, Melton faces a minimum of 10 yeaars and up to life in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alfredo De La Rosa and Chris Howard, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 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."