PANAMA CITY -- An Air National Guard colonel arrested on charges of soliciting sex from a 14-year-old-boy has been convicted in federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A federal jury on Tuesday found Michael Shawn Garrett, 44, guilty of attempted enticement of a minor for sex. Garrett solicited sex online from a boy who actually was an undercover Panama City Beach Police Department officer. He eventually was arraigned indicted by a federal grand jury and scheduled for a one-day trial.
In May 2017, undercover investigators conducted an operation to identify individuals seeking to engage in sexual activity with minors. Garrett responded to a Craigslist advertisement in which an undercover officer posed as a 14-year-old boy, according to court records. During 90 minutes of conversation with the undercover officer, Garrett discussed the sex acts he wished to perform with the boy.
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Through his email communications, Garrett repeatedly requested the physical address of the boy, offering to pick him up to engage in the sexual encounter. Garrett was arrested after arriving at the designated meeting place.
During his trial, Garrett claimed he never believed the person he was talking to was a minor, because Craigslist only allows adults to post. However, jurors found him guilty of traveling to meet and solicitation of a minor for sex and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 11, 2018, at the U.S. Courthouse in Panama City. Garrett faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Garrett was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base.
--This article is written by Zack Mcdonald from The News Herald, Panama City, Fla. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.