SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A 42-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and to be followed by 10 years of supervised release on Wednesday after he was convicted of attempting to entice a minor and using interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Boyle.
Katherine said Rafael Mercado Berrios was convicted in June following a jury trial. This trial revealed evidence of Mercado Berrios using a mobile application to arrange a meet-up with a 15-year-old for sexual activity.
At Mercado Berrios’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough found that he had also attempted to obstruct justice by telling his ex-girlfriend to delete information from his computer and not to speak to law enforcement agencies. He even told her what she needed to say if she decided to speak to the police.
According to officials, the statutory penalty for attempted enticement of a minor is ten years to life imprisonment. The statutory penalty for use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor is up to five years imprisonment. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000.
The prosecution was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office, with the assistance of the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Springfield Police Department and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tanner Jacobs and Gregory Harris represented the government in the prosecution.