(STL.News) – A New Jersey man arrested by Rhode Island State Police and Homeland Security Investigations on Sunday after he traveled to Rhode Island to allegedly engage in sexual activity with a person he believed to be a 9th grade girl he befriended online has been ordered detained in federal custody, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Colonel James M. Manni, and Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina.
It is alleged that Amish Jayant Patel, 47, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, communicated online for nearly a month with a person he thought to be a 14-year-old, 9th grade Rhode Island female. It is alleged that during the online exchange of messages, Patel sent the girl photographs of himself and sexually explicit pictures. It is alleged that he arranged to meet with the girl in Rhode Island on January 5, 2020, to engage in illicit sexual activity. He allegedly told the girl he would purchase alcohol for them to share when they met.
The person he was actually communicating with was a Rhode Island State Police Detective assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
According to court documents, when Patel arrived at T.F. Green Airport on Sunday he was followed by undercover law enforcement officers and agents as he deplaned, he traveled to a local liquor store where he purchased alcohol, and then to a pre-determined location where he was expecting to meet with the 14-year-old girl. He was arrested without incident.
Patel appeared in U.S. District Court in Providence on Monday and was ordered detained by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond, charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with enticement and travel in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker