NEWARK, N.J. – A illegal alien today admitted to coercion and enticement of a minor and to illegally reentering the United States.
Juan Carlos Morales-Pedraza, 34, of Paterson, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference charging him with coercion and enticement of a minor and of illegally re-entering the United States after having previously been deported.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On April 13, 2019, Morales-Pedraza approached a 15-year-old victim in Passaic County. Two days later, after engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim, Morales-Pedraza and the victim left the New Jersey area, with plans to travel to Illinois.
Morales-Pedraza admitted that he planned to engage in sexual conduct with the victim in Illinois.
Law enforcement arrested Morales-Pedraza and rescued the girl during a traffic stop in Ohio. Neither of the two spoke English.
“There was that feeling that something wasn’t right,” Sgt. Ivan Nunez told WTOL11.
Police said Morales-Pedraza was ‘overly friendly’ during the stop and the girl lied about her age. Both were separated and troopers questioned the girl.
Troopers found out the victim had been reported missing. Ohio State Police said Morales-Pedraza “forced the girl to perform sex acts on him.”
Morales-Pedraza admitted that he is a citizen of Mexico and that he illegally entered the United States after having previously been deported.
The count of coercion and enticement carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and mandatory restitution. The count of illegal re-entry carries a maximum prison sentence of two years and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 14, 2021.