Lincoln City man arrested in Facebook sting

Last week, a 27-year-old Lincoln City man was jailed for allegedly attempting to lure a female minor to a hotel room.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, James D. Esplin thought he was sending Facebook messages to a 15-year-old girl between Feb. 26 and March 18, but it turned out to be a Lincoln City police officer. 

The affidavit says Esplin acknowledged the age of the fictitious girl multiple times and brought up the subjects of drug use and sex, saying he wanted to take a shower with her, asking if she was a virgin, asking for naked pictures, sending a video of his genitals and offering methamphetamine.

Esplin agreed to meet the undercover officer while acknowledging he knew he could get in trouble for it, writing “this is a ton of risk” and asking that their messages be deleted, according to the affidavit. They arranged a meeting at the Motel 6 in Lincoln City.

On March 18, Esplin arrived at the hotel and knocked on the door of the room where the detective, posing as the minor, said he was waiting. When he saw police open the door, he said “I f****** knew it,” the affidavit reads, and while he denied consent to search the backpack he had with him, he told officers he brought along more than two grams of methamphetamine.

Esplin was booked into Lincoln County Jail on charges of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, a Class B felony, and luring a minor, a Class C felony. He remains in custody on those charges, as well as two misdemeanor charges of possession of methamphetamine filed in January and August 2020. He also faces charges of second-degree theft and failure to appear in those two previous cases.

Esplin is next scheduled to appear in court on March 26 for a probable cause preliminary hearing.