December 19, 2019
A New York taxi driver has been arrested after traveling to Cape May County allegedly to have sex with a minor that he solicited on social media.
Richard Gabriel Piedra Ordonez, 35, of Sunnyside, New York, is facing federal charges of transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey announced on Wednesday.
Piedra, a driver for New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission, began communicating in May with a 15-year-old girl on various social media platforms including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, according to the criminal complaint. Piedra allegedly told the victim his name was "Richard Cepeda" and that he was 20 years old.
Piedra and the victim allegedly met several times from May to July to engage in sexual intercourse.
On two occasions, Piedra drove to Cape May County to meet the girl, having sex once in a secluded area several miles from the girl's home, according to the complaint. In two other alleged incidences, Piedra picked up the girl and brought her to his New York home, which he shared with family members, and engaged in sexual intercourse.
Piedra allegedly gave the victim a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phone so they could communicate with one another. Prosecutors said they found photos of the victim with Piedra on the phone, as well as a video that allegedly showed the two having intercourse.
The victim's mother informed police about their relationship after finding messages on Instagram between her daughter and Piedra, prosecutors said. One of these messages allegedly confirmed that Piedra was aware of the victim's age.
Transporting a minor carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Transporting a minor for the purpose of sexual intercourse carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Piedra was scheduled to appear in Camden federal court on Wednesday.