Santa Barbara County deputies are asking for the public’s help in an investigation of a man suspected of victimizing young girls on Facebook.
Trevor Ferrel, 31, of Santa Maria, was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on Tuesday on suspicion of arranging and arriving to a meeting for the purpose of a lewd act with a juvenile.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Human Trafficking Unit began an investigation into Ferrel in August 2017, when deputies received a tip that he was using an alias profile on Facebook to “contact juvenile or teen-aged females in an attempt to solicit nude pictures and to get them to meet and participate in various sex acts,” a news release said.
Ferrel allegedly used various tactics, including threatening to post nude pictures he was sent, to notify their parents or offering to pay for sex acts, according to the sheriff’s office.
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He was taken into custody when an undercover deputy posing as a young girl contacted Farrel in December 2017 to set up a meeting to exchange money for sex, authorities said. When Ferrel showed up to the prearranged location, he was arrested by law enforcement.
Ferrel was also contacted by authorities for such a meeting in September 2017, but he did not show up to the arranged encounter, police said. According to the sheriff’s office, deputies used a search warrant to uncover multiple alleged attempts by Ferrel to meet high-school-aged girls and solicit nude pictures.
He is being held on $150,000 bail.
Deputies believe Ferrel has additional victims and are seeking the public’s help in locating them. Anyone with information pertaining to the case is encouraged to call the Human Trafficking Unit at 805-934-6245 or email email@example.com. Anonymous tips can be given by calling 805-681-4171 or visiting www.sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip.
The sheriff’s office also reminds parents “of the dangers associated with social media regardless of the platform” and encouraged parents to monitor their children’s social media use and education them on their potential dangers.