United States v. Berrios, No. 21-3062 (7th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Mercado, age 41, used an Internet application to meet “Alexis,” a profile operated by an FBI agent conducting an undercover investigation of adults with sexual interests in children. After just minutes of texting, “Alexis” told Mercado she was 15 years old. For the next five days, they texted, exchanged photos, and spoke by phone. Mercado raised sexual topics, describing sexual acts he wanted to engage in with “Alexis.” Mercado sent “Alexis” sexually graphic and suggestive messages and emojis and asked her to smoke marijuana and drink alcoholic beverages with him. They arranged to meet at a house that was actually an FBI operations center. When Mercado arrived, he was arrested. Mercado exhibited health problems. He was taken to a hospital and administered medication. Later, he was interviewed at the hospital, waived his Miranda rights, and made inculpatory admissions.
Mercado was charged with attempted enticement of a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2422(b), and use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor, section 2425. He unsuccessfully opposed a government motion to preclude an entrapment defense. That court denied Mercado’s motion to suppress his statements and evidence obtained in his hospital interview. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, upholding those rulings and rejecting an argument that his statements were involuntary as he was under the influence of drugs when he talked to agents, who coerced his statements.