Federal officials on Friday arrested a 23-year-old Ohio seminary student who they say was en route to Mexico with a plan to adopt or purchase a baby girl for sex.
Joel Wright, who studied at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus up until his arrest, was taken into custody in San Diego while Immigration and Customs Enforcement say he was allegedly on his way to Tijuana to meet what he thought was a guide who would lead him to a victim.
However, authorities say Wright, who is originally from Vermont, had actually been in contact with an agent posing as a Tijuana "travel guide."
According to the criminal complaint, after receiving a tip, an undercover homeland security agent took over an email account that Wright had been commicating with after he placed an ad on Craigslist.
Wright allegedly stated he wanted to travel to Tijuana to adopt or purchase a child under 3 years old and have intercourse with the child, according to an ICE release.
After allegedly making the sinister plans, Wright booked his flight to San Diego and made arrangements to meet the friend of a tour guide at San Diego’s airport, reads the release.
Wright was taken into custody by Homeland Security special agents after his plane landed Friday morning.
Wright faces two felony counts, including travelling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor, and attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country within the Southern District of California.
Federal officials also allege Wright made it to Mexico in 2014 with the intent of having sex with infants but was then duped out of his money without ever coming into contact with a child.
“I have not gone all the way before but I have made it very close in the past," he allegedly told undercover investigators in November.
As of Saturday, ICE officials to INSIDE EDITION they were unaware of an attorney currently representing Wright, whose first court appearance is slated for Monday.
Pontifical College Josephinum spokesman Rev. John Allen, told the Columbus Dispatch they are "shocked and saddened" at the allegations, which he called "reprehensible."