A 40-year-old man from Ferndale, Wash. has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for secretly trying to cross the border last May to have sex at an Abbotsford hotel with someone he thought was a 12-year-old girl.
Christopher David Johnston was sentenced today (Friday) in U.S. district court in Seattle on a charge of enticement of a minor. Judge Richard A. Jones also imposed a 10-year term of supervised release and recommended both sex offender and drug treatment.
“What concerns me is that your drug addiction puts you in a position to think this (criminal conduct) is OK,” the judge said. “Had this child been a real person … the damage would have been life-long and serious.”
According to records filed in the case, Johnston began communicating online in May 2016 with a person who responded to a personal ad he had placed on Craigslist seeking a “young lady to spoil.”
An undercover officer with U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation responded to the ad, pretending to be a 12-year-old girl from Abbotsford.
Over the next two weeks, Johnston engaged in increasingly sexualized emails, texts and chats, ultimately arranging to meet the “child” in Abbotsford.
He also asked for sexually explicit pictures of the girl several times.
Via text message, he told her that he was planning on crossing the border illegally to meet her in Canada, the records state,
Johnston left his home on May 20 and was under surveillance the entire time as he went entered and left a casino and rode his bike into a residential area, down a dead-end street and into a hay field through which the Canada-U.S. border runs.
He was arrested as he was approaching the border into Canada.
At the time of his arrest, Johnston was facing various charges in Whatcom County that would have prevented him from legally crossing the border.
At his sentencing hearing, prosecutors noted that Johnston was willing to go to great lengths to reach the fictional 12-year-old.
“Even the fact that he had no means of legally crossing into Canada and his pending felony charges were not sufficient to deter him,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
Johnson is required to register as a sex offender following his release from prison.