SAN DIEGO, Cali. – (Warning: some of the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers)
An Ohio seminary student from Columbus has been accused of traveling to California to have sex with infants in Mexico.
Joel A. Wright, 23, was taken into federal custody Friday in San Diego by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.
According to the criminal complaint, Wright is charged with two felony counts of traveling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country.
Wright was arrested after a months-long undercover child sexual exploitation investigation conducted by HSI agents.
“This investigation opens a window into a secret world where sexual predators prey on young children around the globe,” said Dave Shaw, special agent in charge for HSI San Diego. “Pedophiles who mistakenly believe they can escape justice by committing child sex crimes outside the U.S. should be on notice that HSI will seek to vindicate the rights of those victims regardless where they live. Fortunately, in this instance, our perseverance and diligence prevented the sexual exploitation of yet another innocent victim.”
In the criminal complaint, agents received a tip about Wright and began to exchange emails with him through an account they had taken over.
According to ICE, Wright believed he was communicating with a male tour guide in Mexico he met after placing an online ad.
In the email exchanges, Wright allegedly said he wanted to travel to Tijuana to adopt or own a child under 3 years old and have sex with the child.
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