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Santa Barbara - South County

Sting operation leads to arrest of three men in Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Three men were arrested in a sting operation conducted by investigators from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Detectives used social media to lure men to an area near Goleta where detectives said they planned on engaging in sexual activity with a minor.

Over a two-day operation, detectives arrested 24-year-old Pottanapong Phakdeeviset from Camarillo, 37-year-old Scott Garey of Santa Barbara, and 36-year-old Jak Touma of Ventura.

All three were booked into the Santa Barbara County Main Jail on $75,000 bail. Phakdeeviset and Garey made bail and have been released. Touma remains in custody.

The sting operation was part of a larger operation to check the compliance of more than 100 registered sex offenders.

The sheriff's office is urging parents and caregivers to monitor their children's online activity to make sure they don't fall victim to abuse. Parents or caregivers should contact local law enforcement if they find evidence of explicit communication on digital devices.

Crime / Ventura County
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