- Sentenced to 15 years and 6 months
- Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan
Branch of Military and Rank
NCIS in Okinawa set up a large scale “To Catch a Predator” sting operation in which law enforcement placed a “F4M” ad on Craigslist.
Once a military service member would respond to the ad and start chatting with the female (who was actually an undercover NCIS agent), the agent would tell the service member that she was only 14 years old and then have sexual text conversations with the service member – who did not know it was an undercover agent.
After these text conversations, some of which went on for months, the agent would invite the unsuspecting service member to come over to “her house” for sex. When the service member arrived at the house and went inside, the NCIS agents would arrest the service member.
This sting operation netted over two-dozen service members across all branches of service in Okinawa, Japan who were criminally charged. The ranks ranged from E-2 through O-5.
Our client was one of the many Marines caught in this sting operation.
After being caught and arrested, our Marine provided a full confession to the alleged crime and gave NCIS authorization to search his cellular phone in order to obtain the text message conversations between him and the undercover.
NCIS already had the text messages that were saved from their end of the conversation but essentially informed our client that they needed to search his phone to corroborate them. Our client provided the consent to search his phone for those messages.
NCIS then took our client’s phone and searched the entire phone, not just the messages associated with the sting operation. By searching the phone, NCIS learned that our client was also in a sexual relationship with an underage high school girl at Kadena High in Okinawa, Japan.
That girl was later interviewed and she admitted that she was in a long-term sexual relationship with our client. NCIS obtained hundreds of pages of sexual text messages between the two of them.
Prior to being charged, an unbelievable twist to the case occurred. The undercover NCIS agent who was posing as the minor during the sting operation with our client, actually contacted our client on social media, met up with him then the undercover NCIS agent actually had a sexual relationship with our client.
This was discovered, she was investigated and she deleted the relevant text messages from her phone. She was later removed from her position.
The government charged our client with over ten pages of charges relating to the sting operation and the actual sexual relationship with the high school girl. He was facing a mountain of evidence and a maximum sentence of over 100 years in prison.
Bilecki & Tipon was retained and we aggressively investigated the case, the nature of the sting operation and the nature of the relationship with the high school girl. We went after NCIS and filed numerous motions, including a motion to suppress the cell phone search, a motion to dismiss due to the agent deleting evidence from her phone and a motion to merge the charges.
Throughout this time period, Mr. Bilecki entered into tough negotiations with the government and was able to secure a pre-trial agreement with a limitation on confinement of only two years.
At the sentencing hearing, the military judge sentenced our client to fifteen (15) years and six (6) months. Because of the outstanding pre-trial agreement, thirteen (13) years and six (6) months of that sentence was reduced and the approved sentence was only two years.
We did not stop there; Bilecki & Tipon filed an additional motion for Article 13 credit based on our client’s year on class Charlie liberty restriction up on Camp Schwab, Okinawa. We won this motion and were awarded an additional 321 days of confinement credit.
- Sentenced to 15 years and 6 months. Client will serve less than one year