LUMBERTON, Texas — A 39-year-old Lumberton man has been sentenced to prison in a plea deal for online solicitation of what he believed to be a minor.
Jeffrey Marcantel, 39, of Lumberton, pleaded guilty to online solicitation of a minor and tampering with physical evidence in April as part of a plea deal that capped his sentence at three years.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Above video is from January 2020)
Marcantel was sentenced Wednesday morning by Judge Steve Thomas in 356th District Court in Hardin County to three years on each charge. The sentences will run concurrently.
He was taken into custody and taken to the Hardin County jail shortly after being sentenced.
Marcantel turned himself in to Lumberton Police in January 2020 after being accused in a YouTube video of attempting to solicit a minor after going to meet a person police say he thought was a 14-year-old boy.
Marcantel went to the Lumberton WalMart to meet the person he thought was a teen but was actually a YouTuber posing as a teen.
He had gotten on a dating app and began texting explicit messages and photos with the "boy", before agreeing to meet for sex, according to Chief Danny Sullins.
Instead, he found a man who then created a YouTube video to "expose" him. The video had been viewed more than 65,000 times at the time of his arrest in 2020.
12News is not identifying the Youtuber, because police do not encourage what he did.
"Folks have to be careful, someone's liable to pull a gun out and shoot you over something like this, but I am glad that we got what appears to be someone who was wanting to meet up with a child in our community," Sullins said.
Many were calling for Marcantel's arrest as soon as the video surfaced. Police had to do a full investigation, and work with the district attorney and prosecutors to ensure they had their ducks in a row to make the arrest. Marcantel has been cooperative and remorseful, according to Sullins.
"He came in the station yesterday morning and was upset, not mad but he was upset," Sullins explained.
Marcantel had multiple chances to explain himself to the media, but chose to stay silent a three minute walk to his arraignment in 2020.
GET NEWS & WEATHER ALERTS | Download the 12News App to your mobile device
CRIME STOPPERS | Submit a tip @ 833Tips.com
This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.