LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced that, Lucas Phelps, was sentenced before United States District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp in West Palm Beach. Phelps had previously plead guilty to three counts of a five-count Indictment charging him with using the internet in an attempt to persuade a fourteen-year old girl to engage in sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b), and two counts of attempted distribution of obscene material to a minor under the age of sixteen, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1470. Judge Ryskamp found Phelps to be a repeat and dangerous sex offender and sentenced Phelps to 168 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by lifetime supervised release, and a $300 special assessment. Phelps also was ordered to register as a sex offender and to have no contact with children. Phelps had previously consented to the destruction of the computer equipment used to commit these offenses.
The charges against Phelps stem from a joint investigation by the FBI, ICE, and the City of Tequesta Police Department. A Tequesta Police Detective created an undercover on-line persona on America Online, pretending to be a fourteen-year-old girl. Phelps, using the screen name “Armani000000,” made contact with the undercover detective and engaged in several sexually explicit on-line chats. Phelps sent the undercover detective a digital video and several still images of adults engaged in sexually explicit activity and instructed the undercover detective to replicate what was portrayed in the video and images. Phelps also transmitted sexually explicit pictures of himself via a webcam to the undercover detective. Phelps asked to meet the undercover detective at the Broward County Fairgrounds on November 19, 2005, so that they could engage in sexual activity. On that date, federal and local law enforcement officers following Phelps as he traveled from him home to the prearranged meeting location, where he was arrested. A search warrant was later executed at his home and his computer equipment was seized. An examination of that equipment revealed the existence of images of child pornography.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Computer Crimes Unit of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Tequesta Police Department for their joint efforts in protecting the children of Palm Beach County.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov