Arel Wayne Powers – Arrested – INTERNET PREDATOR

A 56-year-old Williamsburg man has been arrested and charged with trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 7-year-old girl.

Arel Wayne Powers was arrested after police say he went to an online chat room and negotiated with a person he thought was the mother of a 7-year-old girl. The person was actually an undercover FBI agent. Powers is charged with utilizing a communication device to solicit sex with a child under 15, which is a Class 5 felony.

The FBI and the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation worked together on the investigation and the arrest. Powers was taken into custody on Monday in Glen Allen where he had arranged to meet with the mother of the 7-year-old girl. He is being held at the Henrico County Jail with no bond.

State police spokesman Sgt. Thomas A. Cunningham said special agents discovered Powers’ online communication at a “a pedophile-natured chat room” in October, which led to the investigation involving the agent posing as a mother willing to provide her child for sexual encounters.

Cunningham said agents have seized computers and other electronic equipment from Powers’ home, and the equipment is now being examined by the state police Computer Evidence Recovery Unit. Cunningham said Powers could face additional charges after the forensic examination of the equipment is complete.

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