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LAUSD police officer charged with attempted sex trafficking of a child

U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker, seen here in a file photo, announced sex trafficking charges against a Los Angeles Unified School District police officer on Wednesday.

U.S. Atty. Eileen M. Decker, seen here in a file photo, announced sex trafficking charges against a Los Angeles Unified School District police officer on Wednesday.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times )

A Los Angeles Unified School District police officer surrendered to federal agents Wednesday morning after he was accused of attempting to have sex with a minor, officials said.

Mauricio Edgardo Estrada, 28, was named Tuesday in a two-count indictment charging him with attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to have sex with him, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Estrada responded to a Craigslist advertisement promising sex with a minor on April 20, prosecutors said. He exchanged several emails and text messages with an undercover agent whom he believed to be a 15-year-old girl, and agreed to pay $150 for sex, according to the release.

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“It’s deeply troubling when those sworn to protect our kids are accused of an act that violates every tenet of the oath they pledged to uphold,” Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Initiative in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

“The reality is that the defendants in child exploitation cases come from all walks of life, and access to children is all too often the common denominator,” Macias said.

Estrada is accused of purchasing condoms, then traveling to a gas station in Artesia to meet the girl, the release said. He was taken into custody by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and released after posting bond.

He faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

Estrada has been employed by the school district since December 2013, according to a statement issued by L.A. Unified School Police Chief Steven Zipperman. He was placed on administrative leave after his arrest, and an internal investigation is ongoing, according to the statement.

“The entire L.A. Unified family is deeply disappointed by these serious allegations as they do not reflect the professionalism, ethics and character of the men and women of the Los Angeles School Police Department,” he said in the statement.

Zipperman said the allegations do not involve an L.A. Unified student or any of the district’s campuses. A police department spokeswoman would not say in which schools Estrada had worked.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in Southern California.

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