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Bid to entice minor leads to prison term

by Thomas Saccente | October 15, 2020 at 4:14 a.m.

FORT SMITH -- A Harrison man was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville on one count of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Wayne King, 66, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole and 10 years of supervised release, according to the office of David Clay Fowlkes, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. A $25,000 fine with interest waived was also imposed by U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks, who presided over King's sentencing hearing, according to court records.

Special agents and task force officers with Homeland Security Investigations conducted an undercover online child exploitation operation in September 2019 during the Bikes, Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally in Northwest Arkansas, according to King's plea agreement.

An undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl posted an advertisement on the website Craigslist on Sept. 17 of that year. King responded to the advertisement, the plea agreement states, and the two corresponded through email and text messages over the following eight days.

On Sept. 25, King discussed specific details of what he would like to do during an encounter, including sexual activities, the plea agreement states. The two agreed to meet at a location for a sexual encounter that day.

King was arrested when he approached the location where they were to meet, according to the agreement. A search revealed King was in possession of two cellphones and condoms. The undercover agent called the cellphone number of the person with whom he had been communicating, and King's cellphone began ringing.

King was indicted Nov. 20, court records show. He pleaded innocent to the charge during his arraignment Dec. 23, but he entered a guilty plea during a change-of-plea hearing April 21.

The Homeland Security Department, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Arkansas State Police were involved in the investigation, according to a news release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Driver prosecuted the case.

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