A former seminary student from Ohio who tried to adopt or purchase infant and toddler girls in Tijuana so he could sexually molest them pleaded guilty in San Diego on Wednesday to attempted enticement of a minor.
Joel Alexander Wright, 23, admitted that he was the author of numerous sexually explicit emails in which he described to a cooperating witness and an undercover federal agent how he intended to sexually assault various children in Mexico, from infants up to 4 years old.
"There are no words to describe the horror that might have happened, had an innocent baby been placed in this man's arms," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "There is nothing more important on my agenda than keeping children safe from pedophiles."
Wright admitted in his plea agreement that beginning in November, he placed ads on Craigslist Tijuana purporting to seek a female tour guide. When he received a response from a cooperating witness, Wright confided that he wanted to "adopt/own a baby girl (under the age of 3) and I want to have intercourse with her after I own her but don't be telling people that ... I won't pay until I have seen the baby and I will pay the parents then ... the cheapest baby under 3 would be good."
In another email to an undercover agent, Wright admitted that he wrote he had "picked up an infant pain relief med and a pretty outfit which I think should fit the 1- or 2-year-old." Wright also wrote that he had purchased an American Airlines ticket to travel from Ohio to San Diego last Jan. 29.
Wright got off a plane in San Diego and called a number provided by the undercover agent, saying he had landed. Wright was in possession of two cellphones and a duffle bag containing baby clothes, sleep aids, bottles, toys, candy and lubricant, prosecutors said.
He faces a maximum of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 10 years behind bars, with sentencing set for July 1.