A former Cochise County employee set to stand trial next month on a federal charge of attempting to entice a minor for sex was arrested this week by the U.S. Marshal Service after being accused of violating a condition of his pretrial release.
Joseph Warren Montgomery had been out of custody on his own recognizance since one week after his Feb. 13, 2019 arrest at a location where he believed he would be meeting a 14-year-old girl. In a post-Miranda statement, he purportedly admitted planning to have sex with the girl at the Charleston Road Bridge.
Montgomery, 50, is scheduled to stand trial May 5 on one count of attempted enticement of a minor. However, he became the subject of a March 31 federal warrant after a federal judge was informed Montgomery violated the conditions of pretrial release.
Court documents show Montgomery was taken back into custody April 1. The next day a judge denied a defense motion to reinstate Montgomery’s pretrial release. Instead, Montgomery has been ordered to remain in USMS custody until his jury trial.
Montgomery’s arrest in February 2019 came during Operation Whiteout, a multi-agency taskforce which utilized the internet and social media platforms to identify adults interested in sexual contact with minors. The criminal complaint alleges Montgomery engaged in sexually explicit conversations with a law enforcement officer who used the screen name AZGirl13.
“Beginning on February 12, 2019, Montgomery indicated that he wanted sexual contact with the underage girl…and also asking her questions about her previous experiences,” the complaint reads. “On February 13, 2019, Montgomery agreed to meet AZGirl13 for the purpose of sex.”
Agents found condoms in Montgomery’s vehicle, as well as a specific gift the “girl” requested he bring her.
Montgomery, who lost his job as a truck driver for Cochise County upon his arrest, was initially required to live at a halfway house as a condition of his release but it’s unclear whether that condition still applied when U.S. Pretrial Services reported the violation. His use of computers and the internet is also monitored.
Public records show Montgomery has until April 17 to accept a plea deal on his 2019 charge otherwise his trial date will be confirmed. He must also appear at an April 21 hearing concerning the alleged release violation.