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Georgia man sentenced to prison for attempting to meet child for sex

A 30-year-old Georgia man was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release after pleading guilty on Feb. 27 of traveling to Western North Carolina in order to engage in illicit sex acts with a minor, U.S. Attorney Dena J. King announced.

U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger also ordered Stephen William Wargo, formerly of Dallas, Georgia, to register as a sex offender after he is released from prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $13,200.
Ronnie Martinez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Henderson County Sheriff Lowell S. Griffin joined King in making the announcement.
According to court documents and court proceedings, Wargo began communicating with a 10-year-old minor female via the Discord social media messaging application in September 2021. Wargo had extensive conversations with the minor victim and at times made inappropriate romantic overtures, court records said. When minor victim’s parent discovered the communications and turned over the minor’s cell phone to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, a detective took over the minor victim’s Discord account and continued to communicate with Wargo. During this period, the messages from Wargo became increasingly sexual and the two discussed Wargo traveling from Georgia to North Carolina to meet the minor victim. On Oct. 16, 2021, Wargo did in fact travel from Georgia to Henderson County, with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a child, court records said. He was arrested upon arriving at the predetermined meeting location.
Wargo pleaded guilty in February to crossing state lines with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person less than 12 years of age.
“Every child has the right to a childhood free from sexual abuse and trauma. Identifying and prosecuting predators like Wargo is at the forefront of our efforts to combat child sexual exploitation and keep our most precious resource, our children, safe from those who wish to cause them harm,” King said.
“Protecting the children in our communities remains a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations,” said Special Agent in Charge Martinez. “This sentence is a testament that HSI remains committed to identifying individuals who prey on our most vulnerable population.”

Griffin added: “There is nothing more precious than our children. I am proud of the extraordinary efforts put forth by the men and women of the Sheriff’s office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to remove this dangerous criminal from society. We will continue to work collaboratively to hold those accountable that choose to prey on the most vulnerable."
U.S. Attorney King credited HSI and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Solheim with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.