Undercover sting leads to arrest of Phelan man accused of trying to sexually abuse underage victim

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An undercover sting by Riverside County authorities led to the arrest of a Phelan man allegedly trying to sexually abuse someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl, authorities said Thursday.

Leonides Edgardo Guzman, 27, agreed to meet the person at a park in Beaumont following online chats in which he sent multiple “inappropriate” photos, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. He was arrested upon arriving at the park.

Leonides Edgardo Guzman, 27, of Phelan appears in a photo released by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office on Aug. 6, 2020.
Leonides Edgardo Guzman, 27, of Phelan appears in a photo released by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office on Aug. 6, 2020.

The person he was pursuing was actually an undercover investigator with the DA’s office who works on the Riverside County Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement/Internet Crimes Against Children task force, according to prosecutors.

Investigators arrested Guzman on Aug. 5, 2020, on suspicion of sending harmful matter to a minor and contacting a minor for sex, prosecutors said.

He is currently being held on $200,000 bail.

In a statement about Guzman’s arrest, DA’s Office Chief of Investigators Joe DelGiudice said “reports of these types of online predatory incidents against children have increased during the pandemic.”

Authorities believe there may be other potential victims of Guzman and are urging them to come forward. Anyone with information can call 866-723-3595 or email safe@rivcoda.org.

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