A man from Santa Maria has been arrested for allegedly using a false identity on Facebook in a scheme to get young girls to perform various sex acts, authorities announced Thursday.
Trevor Ferrel, 31, used an alias on Facebook to solicit nude pictures from underaged girls to get them to meet him in person, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. He threatened to post the photographs he was sent or notify the victim’s parents, the statement said. He also allegedly offered to pay money for sex.
An investigator with the sheriff’s human trafficking unit reported receiving information in August about a man using a fake Facebook identity to victimize young girls.
When the man was identified as Ferrel, the investigator served a search warrant linked to his social media account, the statement from the Sheriff’s Office said. The information received detailed several attempts by Ferrel to contact high school-aged girls, according to authorities.
In September, officials said Ferrel communicated with an undercover officer posing as a girl. He arranged to meet her and exchange money for specific sex acts, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The meeting did not occur and the investigator continued to gather information.
In December, the officer contacted Ferrel, who again negotiated to meet and offered money for sex. The two agreed on a date and place, officials said.
Ferrel arrived at the location on Monday at 2:15 p.m., when a group of officers approached his vehicle. They arrested and booked him into jail for arranging a meeting and arriving at a location for the purpose of a lewd act with a juvenile, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Ferrel was being held on $150,000 bail, according to authorities.
Deputies believe Ferrel likely has more victims. The department said it’s not able to release the suspect’s online alias because the case involved juveniles.
Those with information can call the department’s human trafficking unit at 805-934-6245 or email email@example.com. Individuals who want to provide an anonymous tip can call 805-681-4171 or visit .