US Customs and Border Protection stopped a New Zealand teenager from entering the country to meet a registered sex offender.
The 17-year-old was intercepted at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. He was travelling alone on a one-way ticket, and had only $26 in his possession.
The teen told American authorities that he was visiting a male relative in Michigan, whom he had been speaking to via social media for four years but had never met in person.
Upon further investigation, CBP officers discovered that the teen's relative was a registered sex offender. The family member had two felony convictions including criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 and second degree sexual assault.
The teenager was found to be inadmissible into the US, and authorities sent him back home to New Zealand where he lives with his caregiver.
In a statement Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, said that authorities followed strict federal standards designed to protect unaccompanied minors.
"Minors are particularly vulnerable to sexual predators that commonly present themselves as individuals they can trust. CBP officers took decisive action to protect a potential victim from a convicted criminal."