ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A New Jersey man was sentenced Friday for traveling to the northern Virginia area to engage in sex with a minor following an undercover investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington.
Royce DeWeese, 26, of Cherry Hill, N.J., was sentenced to 108 months in prison. Following his sentence he will serve a lifetime term of supervised release.
DeWeese pleaded guilty on Sept. 13. Between March and May, DeWeese communicated over the Internet with an undercover HSI agent about plans to travel to Fairfax in order to engage in sexual activity with the undercover agent's supposed 10-year-old daughter. On May 14, DeWeese did travel from New Jersey to Fairfax where he was arrested.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.