By David Pendered
Two men arrested separately at Atlanta’s airport have been convicted of federal charges of traveling to Atlanta to have sex with a minor child. The incidents show that even as airport officials focus on spotting victims of the sex trade who travel through the airport, predators pass through it, as well.
Both cases are being brought as part of the Justice Department’s Project Safe Childhood. The program’s goal is to prevent predators from exploiting children via the Internet by bringing together the resources of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Both men who were arrested in Atlanta’s airport used the Internet to make arrangements to meet their victim, prosecutors said.
One flew from San Diego to Atlanta; the other flew from Toronto, Canada to have sex with his intended victim.
The Canadian man came to meet a 13-year-old Marietta girl. He and the girl met on the website Omegle, a free anonymous text and video chat tool, and moved their chat to Google Hangouts.
The man escalated the relation by asking the teen to perform sex acts on live video streaming for him and eventually made the trip from Toronto to Atlanta to have sex with her, according to a statement released by U.S. District Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
It wasn’t his only planned encounter.
During the investigation, authorities discovered the man was preying in a similar fashion on an 8-year-old girl in Pascagoula, Miss. The man had asked her to engage in sexually explicit behavior while the two were having a live-streaming conversation. He since has been charged in the Southern District of Mississippi with one court of coercing and enticing the production of child pornography.
Yves Joseph Legault, now 54, of Ontario, Canada, was arrested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Aug. 11, 2017. The FBI was waiting for him, based on a tip from the girl’s mother after she intercepted a package Legault had sent the girl.
Four days after he touched down in Atlanta, a federal grand jury indicted Legault.
Legault pleaded guilty on Sept. 18. U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans sentenced him to 16 years in prison, followed by supervision for life, a $200 special assessment and immediate deportation to Canada following the completion of his sentence.
The San Diego man came to meet a child he thought was a 9-year-old girl, who was being trafficked on the Internet by her mother who was in search of a “teacher” for her daughter. The mother actually was an FBI agent acting in an undercover capacity.
Craig Alan Castaneda, 39, of Imperial Beach, Ca., responded to the ad the next day. He reported his prior experience in molesting children, including a 4-year-old child. Castaneda reported that he’d been preparing another child for molestation, but the family had moved away a few months earlier, according to a statement.
Castaneda and the FBI agent agreed Castaneda would arrive at Atlanta’s airport on May 2, 2015. In one of his final communications with the FBI agent, he asked the “mother” to obtain sex toys and lubricant. FBI agents arrested him at the airport.
Castaneda was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia, June 2, 2015, on one count of traveling from another state to engage in sexual activity with a child under the age of 12 years, and one count of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, according to the statement.
A sentencing hearing for Castaneda hasn’t been scheduled.