Sri Lankan arrested after undercover sting in Florida
May 16, 2015 02:36 pm
A 22-year-old Sri Lankan man is facing up to 15 years in prison if found guilty on charges of attempted lewd and lascivious battery and traveling to meet a minor for a sexual encounter in Florida, US.
The minor was actually a detective working undercover as part of the department’s proactive enforcement focused on preventing child exploitation.
Shabeeb Ahamed Mohamed Shaheed, 22, was arrested on May 13 after an undercover detective with the Special Victims Unit (SVU) found him through a Craigslist interaction.
Through repeated emails and text messages discussing a sexual encounter with whom he thought was a minor under the age of 16, the suspect traveled by taxi to meet the girl at a local coffee shop.
Instead he met police officers who arrested him.
“Mr. Shaheed thought he was talking to a girl under the age of 16 and in his communications with her he validated several times that he knew her age,” said Detective Ursula Cowan.
“He was very specific with what he wanted to do with her and based on the evidence we gathered we were able to support probable cause for these charges.”
Shaheed was arrested for one count of traveling to meet a minor, one count of use of computer for solicitation of a minor, both of which are third degree felonies punishable by up to 5 years prison; and one count of attempted lewd or lascivious battery which is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
His arrest carried a $50,000 bond.
“These types of crimes are of great concern,” Detective Cowan added.
“The unfortunate and frightening thing is that it is so prevalent on the internet and social media. Parents really need to pay attention to their children’s online activity.”
The Special Victims Unit is part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), a nationwide program created to help Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the internet, online communication systems or computer technology to sexually exploit children.
Source: Space Coast Daily