CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A South Texas man was ordered held without bond on charges of online coercion and enticing a child, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in coordination with the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD).
According to court documents, the criminal complaint alleges Bryan Martin, 39, used a facility and means of interstate and foreign commerce (a telephone and a computer connected to the Internet) in an attempt to coerce and entice a minor to engage in sexual activity between Sept. 1 through Dec. 9, 2011. During that time period, Martin began communicating with a child that he knew to be 12 years old. The child's parent became aware of the communication, deemed it inappropriate and reported it to the police.
CCPD Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case, and an undercover officer began communicating with Martin in place of the child. Martin allegedly expressed his desire to engage in sexual acts with the child and devised a plan to meet with the child to engage in such sexual acts. Martin was arrested at his home after making the arrangements to engage in sex with the minor.
Martin was originally arrested by the state on Dec. 8 and was transferred to federal custody after the criminal complaint was filed Dec. 13. On Dec. 19, Martin waived his right to a preliminary hearing to determine whether probable cause exists to proceed on the charges. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Owsley then remanded Martin to federal custody without bond pending further criminal proceedings.
If convicted, Martin faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life imprisonment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Duke, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.
This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.