LOS ANGELES – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) intercepted a 17-year-old male citizen of New Zealand Monday, Dec. 4 who was apparently traveling alone on a one-way ticket to visit a male family member in Michigan. According to authorities, the family member has two felony convictions for sexual conduct with a person under 13, a news release said from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The minor, who was allegedly traveling with only $26, indicated he was visiting a family in Howell, Michigan, whom he met on social media websites approximately four years ago, but has never met in person.
During the course of the inspection, CBP officers found that the male member of the family is a registered sex offender with two felony convictions in 2001, including criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 and second degree sexual assault, said the report.
“CBP follows strict federal standards in the protection and well-being of minors traveling alone,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles in the news release. “Minors are particularly vulnerable to sexual predators that commonly present themselves as individuals they can trust. CBP officers took decisive action to protect a potential victim from a convicted criminal.”
Under visa waiver provisions, the minor was found inadmissible into the U.S. and was returned to New Zealand, where he lives with a caregiver, the release said.
The CBP Office of Field Operations is the largest component in CBP and is responsible for border security — including anti-terrorism, immigration, anti-smuggling, trade compliance, and agriculture protection — while simultaneously facilitating the lawful trade and travel at U.S. ports of entry that is critical to the Nation’s economy.