7 Dec 2017

NZ teen flew to US to meet sex offender

7:27 pm on 7 December 2017

A New Zealand teenager travelling on a one-way ticket to the United States to meet a convicted sex offender was stopped at the border.

Los Angeles International Airport in California.

Los Angeles International Airport in California. Photo: sainaniritu/123RF

The17-year-old boy told customs officials in Los Angeles he was visiting a man in Michigan who he had met on social media four years ago. The two had never met in person.

United States Customs and Border protection said in a statement the teenager had $26 in cash on him, and had said he was going to visit the man and his family.

The officers found the man had two convictions dating back to 2001, including criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 and sexual assault.

In the statement, Carlos Martel - CBP director of field operations - said strict standards were followed to protect minors who were travelling alone.

"Minors are particularly vulnerable to sexual predators that commonly present themselves as individuals they can trust," he said.

"CBP officers took decisive action to protect a potential victim from a convicted criminal."

The teenager was refused entry, and has returned home to his caregiver.

A New Zealand police spokesperson said they were aware of the matter and enquiries were ongoing.