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Child predator arrested in undercover sting operation apprehended while attempting to flee the Country

Media, Pa – Today Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced Santhosh Akinepalli, 27, of Exton, was arrested for a second time following his initial arrest during a large scale undercover sting operation that netted 10 child predators in April of 2019. Santhosh Akinepalli was apprehended a second time after purchasing a one-way ticket to India from the United States, and was charged with flight to avoid trial or punishment.

On May 5, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security contacted Sergeant Ken Bellis of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force regarding Santhosh Akinepalli attempting to flee the country. Akinepalli, 27, of the 300 block of Apple Drive in Exton, had been previously arrested following an investigation by Officer Tim Kearney of the Ridley Township Police Department and member of the Delaware County ICAC Task Force. On April 6, 2019, Officer Kearney posed as a 13-year-old female on a social media application, and received a message from Akinepalli, who asked, “How much for an hour?” while asking the juvenile to engage in sex. Akinepalli arranged to meet the juvenile after acknowledging several times that he knew the juvenile was 13 years old.

On April 12, 2019, after engaging in sexual related conversation, Akinepalli arranged to meet the juvenile and was taken into custody while traveling to the meet location. Akinepalli was charged with attempt to commit statutory sexual assault and related offenses. Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart set bail at $50,000/10%. The preliminary hearing is set for May 13, 2019, in front of Magisterial District Judge Jack D. Lippart. On April 15, 2019, Santhosh Akinepalli posted 10 percent of $50,000 and was released, with bail conditions requiring him to obtain permission from the Delaware County Bail Office prior to traveling outside the state of Pennsylvania. No requests for travel were made by Santhosh Akinepalli.

CID placed an alert with the Department of Homeland Security for Akinepalli should he attempt to travel outside of the United States. On May 5, 2019, Homeland Security contacted CID and advised that Akinepalli had purchased a one-way airline ticket from San Francisco International Airport to Hyderabad, India. Homeland Security Investigators confirmed that Akinepalli checked in for the flight to India and was traveling alone. Santhosh Akinepalli is a citizen of India and had been visiting the United States on a work visa. United States Customs and Border Protection Agents, with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, took Akinepalli into custody at the San Francisco International Airport prior to departure of his flight.

“Homeland Security Investigations prioritizes cases involving the abuse of our children,” said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia. “Applying our unique law enforcement authorities, HSI Philadelphia in coordination with HSI San Francisco, were able to prevent Mr. Akinepalli from absconding. I’m very proud of all of those involved in bringing this dangerous man to justice.”

“This defendant, who was initially apprehended for actively seeking out vulnerable children for his own sexual gratification, attempted to leave the United States to avoid facing the consequences of his predatory behavior. I would like to commend the Department of Homeland Security, United States Customs and Border Protection Agents, and our ICAC Task Force members for their continued work to ensure perpetrators like Santhosh Akinepalli face the consequences of their actions.”

CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS AND UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

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