Below is a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida regarding the arrest of a former police officer suspected of enticing a minor online.

Jacksonville, FL –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest and filing of a criminal complaint charging Josue Garriga III (34, Jacksonville) with online enticement of a minor child to engage in criminal sexual activity.  Garriga is a former police officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

According to the criminal complaint, Garriga met the child victim at church around September 2023 and began pursuing a relationship with her via text messaging and WhatsApp. Messages recovered from the victim’s phone revealed Garriga sent communications expressing his sexual interest in the child. Garriga went to the victim’s house late at night on several occasions and visited her at a coffee shop on March 6, 2024. During the March 6 encounter, while in his vehicle outside the coffee shop, Garriga grabbed the child’s hand, put her hand down his pants, and requested the child perform oral sex on him. When the child refused, Garriga asked the child to kiss his genitalia and would not let the child leave until the child did so.

A complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty. If convicted, Garriga faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. 

This case was investigated by the Northeast Florida INTERCEPT Task Force, to include Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Cofer Taylor and Kelly S. Milliron. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov