Former UI track member arrested in online sex sting

Iowa City Press-Citizen

A former University of Iowa track and field team member was arrested last month in Texas for allegedly soliciting a minor for sex.

Zahir Jamil Nobles, 19, of Katy, Texas, was one of 23 suspects charged in a sting conducted in May by the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Nobles was a walk-on freshman with the UI track team but was removed from the team's roster May 4 for "competitive and academic reasons," said Rick Klatt, UI associate athletics director for external relations.

Authorities conducted the monthlong sting to identify and arrest individuals engaging in the solicitation or online sexual exploitation of children through social media sites, according to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.

Nobles was charged with solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child. Officials at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said he was released from custody on an $80,000 bond.

"He showed up expecting to have sex with an underage girl," said Doug Adolph, media relations contact for the City of Sugar Land, where Nobles was arrested. "He was caught as part of an online Internet predator operation that we conduct on a routine basis."

Authorities said agents communicated with suspects using social media websites, then directed those attempting to engage in sexual contact with children to another location where officers were waiting and made arrests.

Task force agents conducted the sting in four Texas cities in May, with Nobles one of four men arrested in Sugar Land on May 28-29, according to news release.

A phone number could not be found for Nobles.