Mexican Citizen Charged with Attempting to Transport a Minor from Las Vegas to Jacksonville for the Purpose of Engaging in Illegal Sexual Activity
JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced today that Javier Guerrero Molina (33, citizen of Mexico) has been charged by a federal criminal complaint with transporting and attempting to transport a minor child from Las Vegas to Jacksonville with intent that the child engage in illegal sexual activity. If convicted, Molina faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, up to life in federal prison. Molina was arrested on May 30, 2014 at the Jacksonville International Airport. He has been in custody on related state charges since that time. A detention hearing is scheduled for July 14, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Monte C. Richardson.
According to the criminal complaint, during the afternoon of May 29, 2014, officers with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department (JAAPD) received a telephone call from an individual who advised that a particular female minor child had disappeared from her home in Las Vegas and was believed to be traveling by air to Jacksonville, Florida. JAAPD officers queried the National Crime Information Center and learned that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) had made a “missing persons” entry regarding a 14-year old female child with the same name. A check of airline manifests confirmed that this minor child was listed as a passenger on board a flight from Las Vegas to Jacksonville, with a connection in Charlotte, North Carolina. JAAPD coordinated with officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department (CMPD), who intercepted the child at the Charlotte International Airport and took her into protective custody. The child had been scheduled to board a flight from Charlotte to Jacksonville, due to arrive shortly after midnight on May 30, 2014.
The criminal complaint alleges that, as the expected arrival time for the Jacksonville flight approached, a JAAPD officer observed Javier Guerrero Molina in a waiting area in the Jacksonville International Airport lobby. When asked by the officer, Molina advised that he was there to meet a particular passenger. Molina was subsequently detained.
During an interview, Molina admitted that he entered the United States in 1999 or 2000 by paying a smuggler $700 to help him cross the border on foot near Laredo, Texas. Record checks confirmed that there is no record of Molina legally entering the United States or ever having legal status in this country. Molina also stated that he had previously engaged in sexual activity with the child in Jacksonville, before the child and her family moved to Las Vegas. He also stated that he sent the child money to pay for a one-way airline ticket from Las Vegas to Jacksonville, and that he expected their sexual relationship to continue when the child returned to Jacksonville.
A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Police Department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Jacksonville and Charlotte, North Carolina), the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the Jacksonville State Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, 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, Project Safe Childhood 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 Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.