Jury Convicts Midland Man of Federal Sex Trafficking of a Child Charge
Irick Dron Oneal, age 43, of Midland, faces up to life in federal prison after a jury in Midland convicted him of the sex trafficking of a 15-year-old girl announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
On Wednesday, jurors returned their guilty verdict convicting Oneal of one count of sex trafficking of a child. Evidence presented during trial revealed that on October 14, 2016, investigators took custody of the victim when she appeared at an Odessa hotel room. Previously, investigators responded to advertisements for sex with the minor posted on the Internet site Backpage.com. Authorities discovered Oneal in the hotel parking lot while waiting for the victim.
Oneal has remained in custody since his arrest in October 2016. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
The investigation was developed as part of Operation Cross Country, a nation-wide operation conducted October 13-14, 2016 by the FBI to locate and rescue child victims of sex trafficking. The FBI was assisted by the Odessa Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Harwood is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC), 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, PSC 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 PSC, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/resources.html.