By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
An Albuquerque man is in jail and a Texas man is facing child solicitation charges in connection with Internet investigations conducted by the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.
Brian Michael Gray, 33, of Albuquerque is charged with three felonies for soliciting a child by electronic device and is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center on a $20,000 bond, according to a press release.
Undersheriff Wesley Waller said Gray was arrested just before midnight Tuesday after he drove to Clovis from Albuquerque to meet with what he thought was an underage girl he had been chatting with online.
Gray began chatting online with an undercover agent in March and the chats became “very graphic and sexual in nature,” the release said. Gray tried to talk the female into riding a bus to Albuquerque to see him, the release said.
He was arrested after he made contact with an undercover female officer.
“After his arrest Mr. Gray was still of the assumption that the underage female actually existed and drafted an apology letter to her parents,” which he gave to the arresting officer, Waller said Wednesday.
Texas authorities also served a search warrant Tuesday at the home of a suspect in Rockdale, Texas, in connection with a separate Internet solicitation investigation, Waller said.
Charges are pending against the man, a former resident of Clovis who contacted a sheriff’s department decoy Internet chat profile and solicited what he thought was an underage girl, the release said.
When authorities searched the residence, the suspect was logged in on his computer and was found to be in possession of a “large amount of child pornography,” the release said.
The suspect, who the CNJ has declined to identify until charges are filed, is facing four counts of child solicitation by an electronic device in addition to charges for possession of child pornography in Texas, according to the release.
The sheriff’s department began actively investigating Internet predators in the last year and has arrested at least half-a-dozen men on charges of soliciting children over the Internet.
According to investigators, several of the men have traveled to Clovis from locations hours away to meet with what they believe to be underage females.