By Ashley Cox

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Darryl Gray Smith (31, Orange Park) to 10 years in federal prison for attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and to produce child sex abuse images. Smith was also ordered to serve a 10-year term of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.

Smith was found guilty on February 5, 2020, following a jury trial.

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According to testimony and evidence introduced during the trial, from February 6 through February 13, 2019, Smith engaged in a series of online text conversations over the internet with a person whom he believed to be a 14-year-old child. Unbeknownst to Smith, this “child” was an undercover agent from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). During the course of these conversations, Smith discussed in detail his desire to meet and sexually abuse the “child.” He made several requests for the “child” to produce and send him images of the “child” engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

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On February 13, 2019, Smith went to a local restaurant in Orange Park to meet the 14-year-old child. He was arrested at the meeting location by HSI agents and officers with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

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“We are witnessing an epidemic of the sexual exploitation of children in our society,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “It’s imperative that parents, caregivers and children understand the dangers of online predators and take every step possible to safely navigate Internet and social media activities.”