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Man who wanted to brand teen as 'property' nabbed at airport

Harlan Wright was arrested after stepping off the flight from Chicago as part of a undercover cyber investigation.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Police have arrested a man they say flew into Grand Rapids on Sunday, Aug. 5, with the expectation of meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex and marking her with a livestock brand.

There was no girl, just federal agents waiting to arrest him as part of an undercover cyber investigation.

Harlan David Wright is accused of traveling across state lines to engage in illicit sex with a minor. It's a 30-year felony.

He was caught after an undercover investigator posed as a single mother with two daughters, ages 9 and 14. Wright allegedly said he wanted to turn the older girl into his property.

"What I want is a lifetime of happy service from both girls,'' Wright, 52, stated, according to court records. Wright also said he wanted to mark the older girl with his "livestock brand,'' federal court records show.

"Wright stated he would wait a few years before any sexual contact with the 9-year-old girl,'' an investigator wrote in a criminal complaint.

In a conversation with an undercover officer, Wright admitted to having "a serious humiliation kink and a sadistic streak,'' the investigator wrote.

"The goal is using degradation and pain to completely destroy a sense of self-worth,'' Wright wrote in a May 24 message to the undercover officer. "I will make sure through my actions that following my will is the only viable choice.''

In a May 28 conversation, Wright indicated that he planned to tie the girl's hands to the bed "no matter what,'' court records show.

"I want her understanding from her first time that she is not in control, never will be in control and there to serve and be used by me,'' he wrote, according to court records.

During conversations with the undercover officer, Wright indicated his desire to "make the relationship decades long.''

Wright was repeatedly told the ages of the girls and that he could cancel the event at any point, the investigator wrote.

Before flying to Grand Rapids, Wright sent undercover investigators a photo depicting candy, bandaging tape and a pink leash. He also sent a photo of condoms and stated "one dozen with spermicide now packed,'' court records show.

He was arrested at Gerald R. Ford International Airport after stepping off a flight from Chicago. Wright told police he only planned on having sex with the girls' mother, court records show.

Wright is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on Thursday, Aug. 9 for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing.

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