Darryl Owen Walizer, 43, of Las Vegas, was convicted Thursday of coercion and enticement of a minor and commission of a felony sex offense by an individual required to register as a sex offender. The charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Walizer was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 16, 2010. Walizer, whose sentencing is set for May 31 before U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro, faces 20 years to life in prison.
"As this case demonstrates, convicted sex offenders and others who use the Internet to prey on children will be located, apprehended and prosecuted," said Nevada U.S. Attorney Bogden Daniel G. Bogden. "This type of repeat offender faces a very lengthy term of imprisonment, and in the federal system, there is no parole."
"This verdict should serve as a stern warning about the consequences facing sexual predators who use the Internet to stalk young victims," said Claude Arnold, the special agent in charge who oversees U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Las Vegas. "ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners locally, nationally, and internationally to seek justice for those who mistakenly believe cyberspace makes them invisible and invincible."
In March 2010, ICE HSI agents in Las Vegas received information from the Police Department in Garland, Texas, that one of their undercover detectives posing as a 14-year-old female, had been contacted online by Walizer in February 2010 and solicited for sex. Walizer asked the girl/undercover agent about her level of sexual experience and if she was looking for an older man to teach her about sex.
In continued online conversations, Walizer's statements became more sexually graphic. He told the girl he loved her and that she was his girlfriend, and began speaking about engaging in sexual acts with her. The girl told Walizer she was going to Las Vegas to see an uncle. ICE HSI agents arrested Walizer at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on March 12, 2010, where the girl's plane was supposed to arrive.
Walizer has prior convictions for solicitation of a juvenile in Virginia and importuning in Ohio, and is required to register as a sex offender.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nancy J. Koppe and Christina Silva.
This investigation is part of ICE's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood, which marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet.
As part of 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.
Through Project Safe Childhood, the Department of Justice is seeking to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.