An Ohio man was taken into custody at Lindbergh Field on suspicion of traveling to San Diego to have sex with infants in Mexico.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said 23-year-old Joel A. Wright, of Columbus, Ohio was arrested and "charged in a criminal complaint with two felony counts, including 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 within the Southern District of California."
Dave Shaw, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, said, "This investigation opens a window into a secret world where sexual predators prey on young children around the globe. 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."
ICE officials said: "According to the criminal complaint, after receiving a tip, an undercover HSI special agent took over an email account and began chatting with Wright. Wright believed he was still communicating with a Mexico-based male tour guide he met after placing an online ad. During the email chats with the undercover investigator, Wright allegedly stated he wanted to travel to Tijuana to adopt or own a child under 3 years old and have intercourse with the child."
Wright traveled to San Diego and was set to meet the friend of a tour guide at Lindbergh Field, ICE officials said. Wright and the tour guide were allegedly planning to travel to a Tijuana hotel where female infants would be brought in, according to ICE officials.
Wright was taken into custody by HSI special agents after his plane landed at Lindbergh Field on Friday morning.
ICE officials said Wright is expected to be arraigned in federal court on Monday.