JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - David Marshall Deal, 24, of Jacksonville, was found guilty of using the Internet to attempt to entice a minor child to engage in illegal sexual activity and of attempting to produce images of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and the child predator cyber crime unit of the Florida Attorney General's Office.
Deal faces up to life in federal prison for the attempted enticement charge and up to 30 years in prison for the attempted production charge. His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Deal has been in custody since his arrest in September 2008.
According to court testimony and evidence introduced during trial, from Aug. 28, 2008, through Sept. 11, 2008, Deal engaged in several online conversations using the Internet with a person whom he believed to be a 13-year-old child.
Unbeknownst to Deal, this "child" was actually a detective with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. During the course of the online conversations, Deal attempted to entice and persuade the "child" to engage in sex with him, and he also stated that he wished to take pornographic pictures of the "child."
On Sept. 11, 2008, Deal arranged to meet the "child" at a restaurant in Jacksonville for the purpose of engaging in sex. As Deal approached the meeting place in his vehicle, he was arrested by investigators with the child predator cyber crime unit of the Florida Attorney General's office and Jacksonville sheriff's officers.
A search of Deal's vehicle revealed that he had brought five condoms, two pairs of thong underwear, and a digital camera in a backpack for use during the planned meeting with the "child."
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
The investigation that led to this case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals through Operation Predator. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.