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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 15, 2019

Registered Sex Offender Pleads Guilty To Entice Of A Minor Online

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

Buffalo, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Carlos Francisco Lopez, 30, of Los Angeles, CA, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and attempting to transport a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that on January 16, 2018, the City of Tonawanda Police Department received a request to conduct a welfare check on a 15 year old girl (victim) who was reported to have run away from home and gotten on a bus. Police officers located the bus in Tonawanda, stopped it, and located the victim who was a passenger. The victim told officers she was running away from home and intended to travel to California to visit family, claiming that her uncle purchased the bus ticket for her.

Subsequent interviews revealed that the victim met an unknown individual, with the username “playfulchaos,” on the internet application Kik in a group for runaway youth. In addition to discussing the victim running away, the two also discussed having sex. According to the victim, the two continued to communicate on the internet application Text Free, making plans for the victim to travel to California.  

On January 18, 2018, an undercover law enforcement (UC) officer posed as the victim to continue to communicate with Lopez. The UC wrote, "hey u there... this bus ride sucks." The UC stated she was due into California around 10:00 pm on January 19, 2018 and asked what to do upon arrival. The defendant replied, "call me or text me. Wait at the station, and ill send an uber." Lopez was arrested after the UC sent a message that the bus had arrived and the defendant ordered an Uber.

In 2011 and 2012, Lopez was convicted of sexual offenses against minor children in the State of California. He is a registered sex offender. The defendant was released from prison in 2016 and is an active parolee. 

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Loeffert; the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack; and the City of Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief William Strassburg.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 7, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated July 15, 2019