ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A Buffalo, New York man who traveled to Western North Carolina to engage in sexual activity with a minor was sentenced to 25 years in prison today, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In addition to the prison term imposed, Allen Roger Cobb, 63, was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, joins U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
“Cobb is a repeat sex offender who was willing to travel great distance for his sexual gratification with a child. Thanks to the work of HSI and my office, this dangerous predator is off the streets and no longer able to harm innocent children,” said U.S. Attorney King.
“One of HSI’s most important missions is to protect children from predators like Cobb. As a repeat offender Cobb has proven he was willing and capable of traveling to North Carolina to irrevocably harm yet another child, were it not for the outstanding work of our special agents. We will continue to utilize all of the resources at our disposal to ensure individuals like Cobb are investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows,” said Special Agent in Charge Martinez.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, beginning in July 2021, Cobb began communicating on the Dark Web with an undercover HSI agent posing as the parent of a minor female. During the online exchanges, Cobb expressed an interest in having sexual contact with the minor and discussed travel arrangements and details pertaining to the commission of the sexual assault. According to court records, over the course of their discussions, Cobb expressed concern to the HSI agent about being tracked by law enforcement given his sex offender registration status and stressed the importance of being discreet in their communications.
Cobb was arrested on August 31, 2021, after he travelled from Buffalo to Western North Carolina to engage in a sexual act with a minor. At the time of the arrest, law enforcement found a stuffed toy Cobb had purchased as a gift for the minor and a camcorder which Cobb intended to use to record the sexual assault.
On December 29, 2021, Cobb pleaded guilty to traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
U.S. Attorney King thanked HSI for their investigation that led to today’s sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis I. Solheim of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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