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Child Exploitation
01/22/2020

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North Dakota man sentenced to 10 years for transporting South Carolina minor for sexual activity

FARGO, N.D. — A southeastern North Dakota man was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 10 years in prison for transporting a South Carolina minor from Minneapolis to North Dakota to engage in sexual activity.

Dustin James Gilleo, 33, of Wahpeton, North Dakota, was sentenced before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte to serve 10 years in federal prison following his conviction for transporting a minor to engage in sexual activity.

This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Wahpeton (North Dakota) Police Department, the Beaufort County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office and the Minneapolis Airport Police.

“The internet erased distance and created the opportunity for this defendant to entice a juvenile away from the safety of her home and into the sordid web of a sexual predator,” said United States Attorney Drew H. Wrigley, “I commend the work of each law enforcement entity involved in this case, as their swift action avoided further victimization and put this predator away.”

On Jan. 3, 2019, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office reported that a missing juvenile female from Burton, South Carolina, had been traced, via cellular phone tracking, to the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) International Airport. Further investigation by Minneapolis Airport Police revealed the missing juvenile entered a vehicle belonging to Dustin Gilleo of Wahpeton.

The following day Wahpeton police located the missing juvenile female at a local residence, at which time law enforcement removed the juvenile from the residence. During a subsequent interview with the victim, she said she left her residence in South Carolina to meet Gilleo in Minneapolis, as the two had previously planned. Gilleo then drove the juvenile to his residence in Wahpeton where Gilleo and the juvenile engaged in sexual intercourse.

Gilleo admitted that the female found at his apartment was the missing juvenile from South Carolina, acknowledged meeting the victim online and that the two had been communicating for more than five months. Gilleo also admitted their communications were sexual in nature and that they had exchanged sexually explicit images of one another via text and various smartphone apps. Gilleo further admitted that he knew the girl was 16-years-old at the time she traveled to North Dakota, and he admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girl at his apartment.

Gilleo’s prison term will be followed by 15 years of supervised release and he was ordered to pay $100 in special assessments to the Crime Victims’ Fund and $900 in restitution to the North Dakota Crimes Victims’ Compensation. There is no parole in the federal prison system.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl.

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 25,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child exploitation material, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2019, more than 3,500 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

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. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.

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.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member 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.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/24/2020