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“Online predators who attempt to entice minors take advantage of our most precious resource, our children,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gonzalez. “We are committed to prosecuting dangerous offenders who troll the internet looking to sexually exploit children, and we will continue to work together with our partners to identify these predators and their victims.”The charge of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor carries a minimum of ten years and up to life in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and at least five years and up to lifetime of supervised release. The charge of attempted use of interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor carries a term of up to five years of federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and at least five years and up to lifetime of supervised release.”
Drake will be required to register as a sex offender as a result of the conviction.
Sentencing is set for July 27, 2021, before Judge Nye at the federal courthouse in Boise.
The investigation was part of “Operation Butterball,” a joint state and federal undercover operation conducted in Ada County in November 2019 to identify individuals predisposed to meet minors for sexual contact. Participating agencies included Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Idaho Attorney General’s Office, Idaho State Police, Meridian Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Rupert Police Department, Jerome County Sheriff’s Office, Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office.
“The collaboration between ICAC and our federal law enforcement partners continues to yield results that help protect Idaho children from online predators,” Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “This conviction and the previous sentences stemming from this operation highlight the partnerships in place between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that continue to put dangerous individuals in prison and keep them away from our young people.”
Drake is among five defendants arrested and charged in federal court as a result of Operation Butterball. Previously, the following defendants were sentenced in federal court:
– Christopher Niday, 54, of Summerville, Oregon, was sentenced on October 20, 2020, by Chief Judge Nye to four years in federal prison, followed by ten years of supervised release, for travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
– Jesse Kelly-Castillo, 24, of Boise was sentenced on December 9, 2020, by Chief Judge Nye to ten years in federal prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
– Maxwell Hennerley, 24, formerly of Boise, was sentenced on January 7, 2021, by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill to five years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for attempted use of interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor.
– Vern Leeroy Moore, 56, of Kuna, was sentenc
ed on April 7, 2021, by Chief Judge Nye to five years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for attempted use of interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor.
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.
As part of Project Safe Childhood, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office partner to marshal federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
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