A Florida man is being held on five counts of sexual exploitation of children after deputies say he tried to lure an underaged Carroll County girl to a rendezvous on Easter Sunday.
Wigberto Berrios, 39, of Miramar, Florida, was being held at the Carroll County jail on Monday on charges that also include enticing a child for indecent purposes and child molestation.
Berrios, a long-haul trucker, was arrested in Tallapoosa on Sunday after arriving for what he thought was a meeting with the girl, according to Carroll County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Ashley Hulsey.
In a press statement, Hulsey said that a man began sending “inappropriate text messages” to an underaged girl from Carroll County over a week ago. The messages allegedly included photographs of a sexual nature and messages to the minor “begging her to meet with him as he traveled through the area” to have sex.
The mother of the girl was alerted to the communications and met with Carroll County investigators, Hulsey said. The mother also provided the investigators with the girl’s cellphone, and the deputies began using the phone to continue to communicate with the man.
According to the statement, the man communicated over a phone app that he “would be traveling through the area on Easter Sunday” and said he would like to meet the girl at a Tallapoosa fast food restaurant, and they could have sex. In the communication, the man said promised that “he would marry her” and that they would “have kids one day,” but the meeting in Tallapoosa “would just be a way for them to get to know each other.”
Berrios arrived in Tallapoosa Sunday morning. When he was out of his truck and starting to look for the minor, he was met with authorities who took him into custody without incident. Berrios was interviewed by investigators, who said in the statement that he admitted to exchanging photos and had solicited sex from the girl.
Deputies are continuing to investigate in belief that Berrios may have been involved in other cases, and they are asking members of the public who may have information to contact Deputy Courtney Stout.
Tallapoosa Police, along with members of the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement (ACE) unit and U.S. marshals, were also involved in the case.