After being arrested by Panama City Beach Police on a charge of soliciting a minor for sex May 15, an Air Force Colonel stationed at Tyndall AFB is now facing a similar charge in federal court.
Col. Michael Shawn Garrett is facing a minimum 10-year-prison sentence if he’s convicted.
According to WJHG News, the disgraced colonel was served with an arrest warrant Monday, according to online federal court paperwork. He’s charged with “using a facility and means of interstate commerce, did knowingly attempt to persuade, induce, and entice an individual, who had not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal office. In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b).
The feds also seized Garrett’s his iPhone 6 Plus, which opened the door for federal authorities to charge Garrett with a federal crime because the cell-phone signal is usually routed across state lines while making a call or surfing the Internet.
WJHG News reports criminals can be accused of a federal crime on the basis of the communication crossing state lines, even though any alleged criminal activity may happen in a single city or within a state’s boundaries.
Panama City Beach Police originally arrested Garrett after he drove to a predetermined location — which he believed was a 14-year-old boy’s home.
According to the Panama City Beach Police Department, Garrett was arrested after he solicited sex from an undercover Panama City Beach Police Officer, who was portraying the 14-year-old boy online.
Garrett described in detail to the undercover officer his sexual interest with the child and insisted on meeting in person.
Garrett was initially charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sex, Solicitation of a Minor for Sex and Unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
According to WJHG News, Garret is due back in state court July 17.
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