A Casper man accused of driving to California to pick up a teenage girl and bringing her to Wyoming earlier this year pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Monday.

Luke Horneck, who was 22 at the time of his arrest, entered the plea to the sole count of “travel with intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct,” during a change of plea hearing before U.S. District Court Magistrate Michael Shickich.

In exchange for his plea, Horneck will serve not more than 36 months imprisonment.

Federal sentencing guidelines are based on a formula taking into account a defendant's criminal history and the seriousness of the crime, Shickich said.

He added the court is not a party to the plea agreement, which was reached between the prosecutor and his attorney. U.S. District Court Alan Johnson will determine the length of imprisonment after he reads the pre-sentence investigation. Sentencing is set before Johnson in Cheyenne on Feb. 12.

Horneck remains free on an unsecured $10,000 bond. He was ordered to have no contact with the 14-year-old victim or her family.

Although the terms of Horneck's release limited his travel to Natrona and Converse counties, Shickich allowed him to leave the state to go to Colorado the funeral of his sister's friend who died in an accident in early November. His sister, Autumn, was severely injured in the crash.

The case began Sept. 13 when Casper police responded to a call from a California man who told them a 14-year-old girl had run away, and she might be with Horneck in the Casper area.

Police later found Horneck and the girl at a hotel.

When interviewed, Horneck and the girl told detectives and an FBI agent they had been friends for more than a year, and put together the plan for her to leave California in August.