A Los Angeles Unified School District police officer was taken into federal custody Wednesday after being charged with the attempted sex trafficking of a minor.
Mauricio Edgardo Estrada, who has been placed on administrative leave by the school district, surrendered to authorities after he was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Estrada, 28, responded to a Craigslist advertisement promising sex with a minor on April 20, prosecutors allege. He allegedly exchanged emails and text messages with an undercover agent whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl, and agreed to pay $150 for sex.
An attorney representing Estrada could not immediately be reached for comment.
The two-count indictment charges him with attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.
He faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison if convicted.
"It's deeply troubling when those sworn to protect our kids are accused of an act that violates every tenet of the oath they pledged to uphold," said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation unit in Los Angeles.
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"The reality is that the defendants in child exploitation cases come from all walks of life and access to children is all too often the common denominator."
When he arrived at a gas station in Artesia to meet the supposed girl, Estrada had $150 in his possession and condoms, the indictment alleges. He was taken into custody by sheriff's personnel and subsequently released from county jail after posting bond.
Estrada has been employed by the school district since December 2013, according to a statement issued by School Police Chief Steven Zipperman, who said the allegations do not involve a student or any of the district's campuses.
Estrada was placed on administrative leave after his arrest, and an internal investigation is ongoing, according to the statement.
"The entire L.A. Unified family is deeply disappointed by these serious allegations as they do not reflect the professionalism, ethics and character of the men and women of the Los Angeles School Police Department," Zipperman said.