EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The messages arrived minutes after midnight on July 6.
“An adult male with the username ‘Brandon’ began conversing with ‘MandyVeeya’ to meet with her to engage in a sexual act,” according to a criminal complaint signed by a special agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety. “‘Brandon’ was advised by ‘MandyVeeya’ that she was 15 years old, which is under the legal age of consent.”
Brandon White, 30, of Pharr arranged to meet her outside a movie theater in Mission anyway.
When he arrived, however, White discovered “MandyVeeya” was actually a special agent — and he was under arrest.
White had become the first person arrested during a new initiative designed to target sexual predators in Hidalgo County.
“And, basically, they’re doing online solicitation” operations, said Hidalgo County District Attorney Toribio “Terry” Palacios. “Trying to get predators that may target some of our children out there in Hidalgo County.”
During the operations, law enforcement officers pose as minors online.
“They get contacted by an alleged predator. Predator makes arrangements. They meet at a certain area,” Palacios said. “And, at that time, we have police officers already there.”
Rather than wait for a sexual predator to assault a child, Palacios said the District Attorney’s Office wants to take a proactive approach.
“We’re working together with other agencies, including McAllen and Edinburg, to try to prevent some of these crimes that we’re having,” Palacios said.
After his arrest, White agreed to speak with the special agent.
“White was read his Miranda rights and later admitted in an interview that he was aware that he was meeting with a 15-year-old for engaging in sexual activity,” according to the criminal complaint.
White is charged with online solicitation of a minor, a third-degree felony. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender.
Court records do not list an attorney for White, who could not be reached for comment at phone numbers listed in public records.