Officers in Okinawa, Japan, should be extremely wary when using Craigslist’s
“casual encounters” listings. In what has been a highly-controversial
move, the NCIS has been running sting operations in an attempt to catch
and convict officers of sex crimes.
In these sting operations, NCIS plants ads on Craigslist, social media,
and dating sites, all of which require users to be aged 18 or over. Upon
making contact with an officer, the undercover agent would request the
conversation be moved over to KiK messenger, and then in the “chatter”,
drop the hint that they are actually underage. They then attempt to keep
the conversation pointed in a sexual nature to attempt to lure them to
the “home” of the undercover agent. Once the officer arrives,
they are immediately arrested and charged with sex crimes against children.
Attorney Bilecki led the defense for a client who was charged after falling
victim to a sting like this, and earned the first “not guilty”
verdict since the operation began, winning a case many attorneys and professionals
thought was un-winnable. Attorney Bilecki, along with UCSM attorney Capt.
Zach Phelps, used the evidence in the case to argue that NCIS was not
following the Internet Crimes Against Children protocols, nor were they
adequately maintaining records of their chat logs as evidence.
The defense was able to successfully argue for entrapment, saying the NCIS
sting operation fooled the officer into committing a crime he had no intent
or otherwise would never have committed, and in fact he lacked criminal
intent all together. He was cleared of all charges, except for a single
charge of conduct unbecoming of an officer, for which he served a small
amount of time with no punitive impact on his discharge.
This was the first successful case in the Okinawa stings that have now
reached a number equaling nearly three dozen. Last year, our team at Bilecki
& Tipon, LLLC handled seven of these cases, and have two more scheduled
to be tried this year. If you or a loved one are facing a court-martial
because of one of these sting operations, you need an experienced and
successful military criminal defense on your side.
Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC, we take great pride in standing up and providing the men and women of
our armed forces with high quality criminal defense representation that
is accustomed to the different nature of military law. As former service
members ourselves, we empathize with the emotional strain and stress you
are going through. We travel all over the country, as well as across the
Pacific and all over the world to come to the aid of our clients when
they need us most. Don’t get burned by a half-baked defense attempt,
trust your case to an experienced and successful firm today.
Call Bilecki & Tipon, LLLC today at 800.996.9747 and let us assist you with your court-martial case.