SMITH COUNTY, Texas — A Tyler man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for online solicitation of a minor.

Ruben Hernandez Contreras, 24, was handed his sentence by a Smith County jury on Thursday in the 114th District Court.

According to the Smith County District Attorney's Office, on October 17, 2018, the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted an online investigation where undercover agents posed as a 15-year-old girl and responded to solicitations from the Contreras to meet her for the purpose of having sexual contact. 

Over the course of a few hours, Contreras specifically stated his intent to have sex with the 15-year-old girl through online chats with the undercover agent. After agreeing to meet the girl at a location in Tyler, Contreras arrived in his vehicle and undercover agents identified him as the one involved in the online chat, stopped the vehicle and arrested him. 

Contreras’s phone was seized as evidence and analyzed. Officials say his phone revealed Contreras had deleted the messaging application used to chat with the undercover officer. There were also many pornographic images on the phone consistent with the sexually explicit chatting. Contreras admitted to chatting with the undercover agent with the intent to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex. He also admitted that he had received pornographic material from underage girls in previous chats, but had never had the courage to show up to meet until that day.