Pettus Man Pleads Guilty to Online Solicitation of Minors
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A 55-year-old resident of Pettus has admitted he attempted to meet two underage boys for the purpose of sex, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Darrell Freeze appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby and entered a guilty plea to one count of online solicitation of a minor.
Freeze was communicating with a person he believed was the mother of two minor children - ages 14 and 11. He made arrangements to meet and engage in sexual contact with the minors, but was apprehended as he arrived at the designated meeting place. Freeze admitted to authorities that he had sent messages indicating his intention to engage in sexual acts with the children. He was also in possession of condoms and candy he brought for the children.
Sentencing has been set for Feb. 28, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos. At that time, Freeze faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing.
The FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Corpus Christi Police Department—Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office conducted the investigation as part of Operation Hidden Predator.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez is prosecuting the case, which 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."