Guilty. Federal officer thought he was meeting 13-year-old for sex in Eastern WA

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent has been found guilty of attempted online enticement of a minor after traveling to Othello, expecting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Koby Don Williams, 49, of Ellensburg., told his wife in a recorded jailhouse call after he was arrested in July 2022 that he had been working on a human trafficking investigation based on a Drug Enforcement Administration tip.

He planned to meet with a victim to give her a hotline help number, he said, according to court documents.

But a federal jury in Spokane did not believe he was in Othello to help anyone and found him guilty this week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Wick said in a court document before the trial that representatives of the DEA and other federal agencies confirmed that no case had been referred to Williams, who was then an ICE officer.

Williams responded to a phone number in an ad two hours after it was posted on Craigslist by an undercover Othello detective, according to court documents.

The ad was a purported warning that a 13-year-old “prostitute” was posing in Moses Lake as a 19 year old and gave her phone number.

Williams communicated in text messages with “Rebecca,” discussing her age, what she charged for sexual acts and what she was willing to do before he booked a room at the Quality Inn in Othello three days after the ad was posted, according to the documents.

“I am a cop,” he texted her, according to court documents. “And I will lose my job by doing this, but I’m not afraid. You know if I make the transaction and proposal that you are in the clear.”

Williams was arrested when he arrived at the motel room he had booked. When arresting officers found his Office of Homeland Security badge for his work as an ICE officer, Williams said he was there to “rescue a minor screaming for help on Craigslist.”

A search of his car found prescription bottles of pills with directions to take them prior to sexual activity and $4,000 in a credit union envelope.

Williams’ sentencing is set for Aug. 14 before U.S. Judge Thomas Rice in Spokane.

“No one is above the law, and as this case demonstrates, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is fully committed to vigorously prosecuting those who target the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Eastern Washington U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref.

“Mr. Williams’s conduct stands in stark contrast to the trust we place in federal law enforcement to keep Eastern Washington communities safe and strong,” she said.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative of the Department of Justice to combat child sexual abuse. The case was investigated by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the Othello Police Department.