In Midland yesterday, a federal jury convicted 37-year-old Midland resident Cole S. Crocker of attempted online enticement of a minor, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie, Jr., El Paso Division, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that on March 22, 2019, Crocker responded to an online advertisement uploaded by an FBI undercover agent. Crocker began chatting with the undercover agent via messaging applications, and the conversation quickly turned graphic and sexual in nature. The undercover agent represented to Crocker that he had access to an eight-year-old girl for sex, and Crocker expressed interest. As the chats progressed, Crocker also engaged in several recorded phone conversations with the undercover agent where they discussed the logistics of a meet-up to have sex with the eight-year-old girl. Crocker was arrested later that evening when he arrived at the purported meeting location in Midland.
“Through the hard work of law enforcement and our Midland office, we have taken another child predator off the streets. Child abuse is a massive problem in our society, and we are fighting it with everything we’ve got,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.
Crocker, who faces a mandatory minimum of ten years and up to life in federal prison, was placed into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service following the verdict. Sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 am on December 3, 2019, before U.S. District Judge David Counts in Midland.
This investigation and arrest was the result of a joint operation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane A. Chriesman is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.