A Carpinteria man is behind bars for having hundreds of images of child pornography on his computer.
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials tell NewsChannel 3 this is one of the biggest child porn busts in recent history.
“It’s very disturbing. It’s also a wake-up call to everyone that there are predators out there to harm children,” said Kelly Hoover, with the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies arrested Giovanni Gonzalez, 24, at his Carpinteria apartment Tuesday. There they found more than 600 images of child pornography.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office began its investigation after a tip from the Los Angeles Area Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Gonzalez’s IP address showed that it was used to access child porn. Gonzalez allegedly took it one step further and tricked underage victims into sending him pictures by pretending to be someone else.
“What’s especially disturbing about this case is that Giovanni Gonzalez posed as a 14-year-old female online, and he used this false identity to lure and entice his victims to somehow send nude videos or photos of themselves,” said Hoover.
NewsChannel 3 went to Gonzalez’s apartment and knocked on the door. A man answered but he said he had no comment on the arrest.
It’s not known who Gonzalez’s victims are or if some of the children are local. Hoover said detectives are looking into it.
“But yes, there’s a lot more to this investigation to come,” she said.
Gonzalez is being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
For tips on how to keep your children safe from online predators, click here.