State and federal authorities seem to be getting more aggressive every year in pursuing Internet-based criminal investigations. Computer-based crimes have been around for about a generation. Authorities may seek to seize electronic equipment to conduct forensic analysis of computers for evidence in areas such as child pornography offenses. But, undercover operations may use a variety of different tactics.
Undercover sting operations using chat rooms and other forms of social media seem to be popular with law enforcement. Agents may pose as teens hoping to find someone to chat with over the Internet. Federal and state officials say that a Lafayette, Louisiana, man agreed to meet someone who authorities claim the man believed to be 15-years-old. Law enforcement has not indicated whether the alleged teen was a male or female.
A recent account of the investigation carried by the Advocate in Baton Rouge says that law enforcement made contact with the man on a social media site on the Internet. Officials claim that in the online chat, the man asked for explicit photographs that purportedly would constitute child pornography. In addition to the alleged request for photographs, law enforcement claims that the man agreed to meet the 15 year-old for a sexual encounter.
Agents apparently created a rendezvous location for a face-to-face meeting. Authorities say that state and federal agents were waiting for the man at that site and took him into custody when he arrived. He was booked on suspicion of solicitation of a minor and child pornography in Lafayette Parish.
State and federal laws may often be implicated when computers and the Internet are involved. Authorities in each jurisdiction may be interested in pursuing computer crimes, and the stakes can be high.
Source: The Advocate, “Lafayette man accused of child porn, solicitation," Jan. 8, 2014