School police officer accused of child sex trafficking
April 27, 2016
On April 20, Mauricio Edgardo Estrada, 28, responded to a Craigslist ad offering sex with children for money.What Estrada did not know was that some of his fellow law enforcement officers had placed the ad in an attempt to snare child predators
Estrada then engaged in a series of text messages with an undercover agent he thought was a 15-year-old girl, according to the indictment. Estrada agreed to pay $150 to have sex with the “girl.”
In preparation for the encounter, Estrada purchased condoms.
When he arrived at a gas station in Artesia where he planned to engage in sexual acts with with the girl, Estrada had approximately $150 in his pocket. He was taken into custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and subsequently released from county jail after posting bond.
Estrada surrendered himself to authorities after he was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury. The two-count indictment charges Estrada with attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.
The case against Estrada is the result of an undercover operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes representatives of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.
“It’s deeply troubling when those sworn to protect our kids, are accused of an act that violates every tenet of the oath they pledged to uphold,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “The reality is that the defendants in child exploitation cases come from all walks of life and access to children is all too often the common denominator.”
Estrada is expected to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Both of the charges in the indictment carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and statutory maximum sentence of life.
Last week, a San Pedro man was indicted on charges of attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Joshua Paul Crouch allegedly sought to have sex with a 13-year-old girl after responding to an advertisement on backpage.com.
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