Undercover child exploitation investigation leads to arrest of New Jersey man: officials
MERCER COUNTY, N.J. - A New Jersey man is facing charges after he was arrested in an online child exploitation investigation.
According to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, 27-year-old Todd Merinuk of West Deptford, New Jersey, was arrested as part of the investigation.
Authorities say an undercover detective working with the prosecutor's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit began chatting with Merinuk weeks ago.
The detective was posing online as a 14-year-old girl, according to the prosecutor's office.
Officials say Merinuk shared sexually explicit messages with the undercover officer, thinking it was a teenage girl, including a photo of male genitals.
Authorities also say Merinuk arranged for an in-person meet-up with the girl to engage in sexual acts.
MORE LOCAL HEADLINES
- Philadelphia's Wanted: 10 fugitives still on the loose for murders dating back to 2019
- 'It's heartbreaking': 8-alarm fire burns South Jersey church to the ground, officials say
- Police: Fight leads to deadly shooting inside Overbrook bar
The prosecutor's office says on March 16, Merinuk sent a ride share to an address in Mercer County to pick up who he thought was the teenage girl, to transport her to Gloucester County.
According to officials, Merinuk was taken into custody at his home without incident.
He faces several charges, including attempted sexual assault, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, and attempted luring.