Many times in federal sex crime investigation, there is an undercover law enforcement agent who engages in some online chat or interaction with the person who is charged. As a legal representative, a Maryland federal sex crimes attorney has the ability to look at the conversations taken place to disprove any potential factual assumptions made in the chat. The Internet can be a place where fantasies are indulged and people say things that are not actually true. This evidence is important to bring to a jury so that jurors can determine the sincerity of the conversation.
The frequency of Maryland federal sex crime investigations has been increasing meaning there are a lot more today than there were five years ago. It is unlikely that these trends have any impact on the person’s case, however. In the past, undercover agents in Washington, DC used to engage drug addicts in conversations about highly addictive substances to entice them into agreeing to have sex with minors for drugs. Eventually, officers had to adjust their tactics as more cases started getting dismissed. These agencies now have a lot more resources at their disposal including funding, multiple officers and agents, and other resources to aid in the investigation of these types of alleged activities.
Federal agents typically begin investigating a sex crime by looking for someone to converse with through some form of online chat. Next, the agent will proceed to set-up a meet up with the individual who is willing to travel to have sex with the person purportedly underage. If the person agrees and meets at the designated location, he or she is arrested and law enforcement agents will conduct a search of the vehicle, and their computers and electronic devices at work and home. Typically the agent is looking for evidence that shows any sort of intent to have sex, whether it be a lubricant, condoms, or anything of that nature.
There are many combined federal-state task forces in this area. There are local law enforcement agencies in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia that partner with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to conduct these types of investigations.
There are Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment issues raised when someone is arrested and being searched, or when law officers attempt to interview someone. These issues are specific towards an investigation is being done when the agents want to search a person’s cellphone or a computer. The Supreme Court recently made the decision that a search warrant is mandatory to examine someone’s cell phone because of the highly sensitive information people carry in their cell phone now.