A Gulfport, Mississippi man was sentenced today to 88 months in fe…

A Gulfport, Mississippi man was sentenced today to 88 months in federal prison for his conviction on charges of traveling from his home state to California for the purpose of having sex with a 13-year-old boy

Daniel Diamond Tucker, 53, received the more-than-seven-year sentence this morning from United States District Judge James V. Selna. Judge Selna also ordered that following the prison term Tucker will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.

Tucker pleaded guilty to one count of interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in sex with a minor on December 19, 2003. The conviction was the result Tucker communicating via e-mail with a “13-year-old boy” in June 2003. In reality, Tucker was communicating with an undercover detective with the Fountain Valley Police Department, who was working in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Over the course of four weeks, Tucker and the undercover officer exchanged hundreds of e-mails.

Tucker made arrangements to meet with the “boy,” and Tucker continued communicating via e-mail, including using library computers, while he traveled from Mississippi to California.

Tucker was arrested on July 19 at a Burger King restaurant in Fountain Valley, where he arrived to meet the “13-year-old boy.” After his arrest, Tucker was ordered detained without bond.

“Targeting sexual predators is a top priority of the President and the Justice Department,” said United States Attorney Debra W. Yang. “My office is fully committed to investigating and prosecuting individuals like Mr. Tucker who would use the Internet to prey upon young people. The children in our communities deserve nothing less than our total commitment in this important area.”

Richard T. Garcia, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, stated: “Mr. Tucker’s excursion across the country was demonstrative of one who stops at nothing to reach his goal, which is to prey upon the young to commit unspeakable acts. The sentence he received is substantial and should send a message to other would-be offenders that the FBI and its law enforcement partners will stop at nothing to reach its goal, which is to safeguard the young and to preserve their innocence.”

This was the second case charged by federal prosecutors in Orange County after the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (the PROTECT Act) was signed into law by President Bush on April 30, 2003. Today’s sentencing is the result of certain new provisions enacted by the PROTECT Act. Prior to the PROTECT Act, the maximum term of supervised release that a judge could impose following prison in this type of case was five years. Here, Judge Selna ordered defendant to be supervised by the government for life, the maximum period allowed by law.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fountain Valley Police Department.