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 altogether. 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.
At 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.