A San Pedro man pleaded guilty Wednesday to sending an obscene selfie to what he believed to be a 15-year-old girl, but who was actually an undercover federal agent.
Joshua Paul Crouch, 28, faces up to 10 years behind bars when he is sentenced in October, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Crouch was arrested in March and initially charged with attempted sex trafficking of a minor.
Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and other law enforcement agencies posted an online advertisement using coded language in a ruse offering sex with young girls, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
The advertisement used catch words such as “daddy,” “petite” and “young,” federal authorities said.
When Crouch responded to the advertisement, he was told by an undercover law enforcement agent that one of the girls advertised was “Cassie,” a 13- year-old. Crouch sought to have oral sex with her in exchange for $60, prosecutors said.
The defendant chose to meet “Cassie,” but he sent a selfie of his lower body to the undercover agent posing as a 15-year-old girl.
Crouch followed the directions provided by the agent and was arrested when he arrived at a hotel room, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
No minors were involved in the operation.
–City News Service