TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that an Ocean County man pleaded guilty to attempting to lure a 15-year-old boy he met on social media to his residence for a sexual encounter. The “boy” in reality was an undercover police officer participating in “Operation Open House,” a multi-agency undercover operation in 2018 led by the Attorney General’s Office that resulted in the arrest of 24 men who allegedly were using social media to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity.
Dylan Daffron, 28, of Lacey Township, N.J., pleaded guilty late yesterday afternoon, July 15, to second-degree luring/enticing a child before Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels in Ocean County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Daffron be sentenced to five years in state prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. Daffron is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 11.
Deputy Attorney General Thomas Huynh prosecuted Daffron and took the guilty plead for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.
Daffron was arrested on Sept. 8, 2018. On that day, an undercover officer from the Voorhees Township Police Department encountered Daffron on social media. Daffron, who believed the undercover officer was a 15-year-old boy, communicated with the “boy” and ultimately asked the “boy” to meet him for sexual activity. During the exchange, Daffron sent sexually explicit images to the undercover officer. Daffron was arrested later that day when he arrived at the house in Toms River where dozens of officers participating in Operation Open House were prepared to arrest alleged offenders and process any evidence seized.
During the past year, the Division of Criminal Justice, the New Jersey State Police, and their law enforcement partners arrested 40 alleged child predators in two major undercover operations, “Operation Open House” in Ocean County and “Operation Home Alone” in Bergen County.
“Through multi-agency operations like Open House and Home Alone, as well as our day-to-day monitoring of social media, we’re working diligently to arrest sexual predators and protect children,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I urge parents to talk to their children about the dangers of social media and the fact that predators use the internet to manipulate children into situations where they can be harmed.”
“To understand the importance of these law enforcement efforts, one need only contemplate what would happen if a defendant like Daffron encountered a vulnerable victim on social media instead of an undercover officer,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This guilty plea ensures that Daffon will face a substantial prison sentence and will be subject to parole supervision for life.”
In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, and the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children. They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child pornography.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Assistant Deputy Public Defender Richard Archer, Ocean County
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