A New York City man was arrested this week after he was allegedly caught by undercover FBI agents attempting to have sex with a 9-year-old boy whom he believed would be “knocked out” on drugs. Federal agents on Saturday morning took Efrem Zelony-Mindell into custody and charged him with one count each of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography, court documents reviewed by Law&Crime show.
“Mr. Zelony-Mindell’s actions are nearly unfathomable,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement. “Through a series of conversations with undercover FBI agents conducted on encrypted messaging platforms, he stated his desire to have sex with minor children, and he ultimately met with one of the agents who he believed would provide him an opportunity to do so. Today’s action should serve as a reminder to anyone who seeks to prey on children — the FBI Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue you and hold you accountable.”
According to a press release from federal prosecutors in New York, Zelony-Mindell in April 2022 used an encrypted messaging service to initiate a conversation with an undercover FBI agent (referred to as “UC-2” in court documents) who was posing as the father of a 9-year-old child. The agent and Zelony-Mindell had “numerous communications” on the messaging platform, via text, and over the phone during which Zelony-Mindell allegedly “made clear that he wanted to engage in sexual activity, including specifically anal sex, with UC-2’s purported child.”
“When told by UC-2 that the child would be ‘knocked out a little bit’ on sleep medication during the planned sexual activity, Zelony-Mindell agreed to have sex with the drugged child,” prosecutors wrote in the release.
A copy of the 13-page criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) provided additional details regarding the defendant’s alleged conduct.
In messages sent via encrypted messenger, prosecutors say that Zelony-Mindell repeatedly expressed “that he had an interest in pedophilia and videos containing child pornography” and sent several images of child pornography and photographs of himself to the undercover.
“On or about May 2, 2022, [Zelony-Mindell] sent [the undercover] a video depicting an adult male raping an approximately 11-year-old boy by penetrating him anally,” the complaint states.
Two days later, Zelony-Mindell is accused of sending the undercover two images, one depicting “an approximately 4-year-old boy being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male,” and another depicting “an adult male restraining an approximately 12-year-old boy whose penis and anus were exposed.”
Later that month, Zelony-Mindell allegedly sent a video depicting “a nude boy, approximately 10 years old, being forced to perform oral sex on an adult male,” as well as an image of an adult male raping an 8-year-old girl.
Zelony-Mindell on May 31, allegedly said that he was “down” “100 percent” to meet with and have sex with the 9-year-old boy. When told the child would be drugged with “sleep medication” so he was “knocked out a little bit” during the planned sexual activity, Zelony-Mindell allegedly wrote back, “Yeah, totally.”
In October, Zelony-Mindell allegedly said that he moved out of New York City, but still messaged the undercover about having sex with his son.
“On or about October 3, 2022, [Zelony-Mindell] communicated with [the undercover over Telegram and stated: “I want to have sex with your son dude. It’s honestly all I think about. You watching us together.” [Zelony-Mindell] stated also “I’m looking at December 15-23” to visit New York. Several messages later, [Zelony-Mindell] stated “You really want your kid to take my dick? Cause if we get together I’m absolutely going to fuck him.”
A meeting between the undercover posing as the 9-year-old’s father and Zelony-Mindell was allegedly set for Dec. 16, 2022. One day before the alleged meeting, Zelony-Mindell allegedly texted the undercover: “I can’t wait to taste his sexy little 9-year-old penis.”
Originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas, Zelony-Mindell was arrested just before 10 a.m. on Dec. 16 at the location where he allegedly intended to meet the 9-year-old boy’s father. He lived in New York City during much of the time frame of the indictment, giving Southern District of New York prosecutors jurisdiction.
Zelony-Mindell is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty of the attempted enticement charge.
[image via DOJ]
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