Foreign Minor Attempting to Meet a U.S. Sex Offender Intercepted at LAX

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LOS ANGELES – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) intercepted a 17-year-old male citizen of New Zealand on Monday who was traveling alone on a one-way ticket to visit a male family member in Michigan who has two felony convictions for sexual conduct with a person under 13.

The minor, who was traveling with $26, indicated he was visiting a family in Howell, Michigan, whom he met on social media websites approximately four years ago but has never met in person.

During the course of the inspection, CBP officers found that the male member of the family is a registered sex offender with two felony convictions in 2001, including criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 and 2nd degree sexual assault.

“CBP follows strict federal standards in the protection and well-being of minors traveling alone,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Minors are particularly vulnerable to sexual predators that commonly present themselves as individuals they can trust. CBP officers took decisive action to protect a potential victim from a convicted criminal.”

Under visa waiver provisions the minor was found inadmissible into the U.S. and was returned to New Zealand, where he lives with a caregiver.