Man charged over online grooming following investigations in USA and NSW

A man will face court today after being extradited from Victoria following an investigation by Strike Force Trawler detectives into the alleged online grooming of children for sex, NSW Police say.

In June 2018, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) commenced an investigation following a referral from officers at the Internet Crimes Against Children Investigations, Criminal Investigations Bureau, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona (USA).

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl from Arizona and later, a 14-year-old girl from NSW, and engaged in highly-sexualised conversations and sent sexually-explicit images and videos.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives travelled to Wagga Wagga in late September but were unable to locate the man. An arrest warrant was subsequently applied for and granted.

As a result of further inquiries, a 41-year-old man was arrested by Cobram detectives (Victoria Police) at a home at Strathmerton, Victoria, about 8.20am on Thursday (25 October 2018).

He later appeared at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court, where Strike Force Trawler detectives applied for and were granted his extradition to NSW.

The man was escorted by detectives to Albury Police Station, where he was charged with two counts of use carriage service to groom person under 16 years for sex, and two counts of use carriage service to send indecent material to person under 16.

He has been refused bail to appear at Albury Local Court later today (Saturday 27 October 2018).

Investigations are continuing.

Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by the CEIU into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.

Regular covert online investigations are conducted by the CEIU; and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.

Anyone with information about internet predators should call Crime Stoppers.

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