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Santa Maria Man Arrested For Using Fake Facebook Profile to Victimize Girls

Trevor Ferrel Click to view larger
Trevor Ferrel

A Santa Maria man has been arrested for allegedly using an alias Facebook profile to try to entice girls to send nude photos or perform sex acts, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said Thursday.

Authorities arrested Trevor Ferrel, 31, of Santa Maria on Tuesday, and investigators are seeking information about additional suspects.

“Based on the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office believes there is a strong likelihood that Ferrel has victimized additional juveniles,” Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

“Due to fact the case involves juveniles, we are not able to release further information about the suspect’s online false identity.”

In August, an investigator with the agency’s Human Trafficking Unit received information that a man identified as Ferrel was using a fake Facebook profile to contact girls “in an attempt to solicit nude pictures and to get them to meet and participate in various sex acts,” Hoover said. 

The man allegedly used various tactics, including threatening to post the nude pictures the girl sent, to notify her parents, or offering to pay money for sex acts. 

In September, Ferrel communicated with an undercover detective posing as a girl, according to the sheriff's department.

The suspect negotiated with the agent, arranging to meet and exchange money for specific sex acts.

While that meeting never occurred, the investigator obtained a search warrant related to the alias social media account, Hoover said.

“The information that was received detailed several other attempts by Ferrel to contact high school-aged females, solicit nude pictures and meet them in order to participate in sex acts,” Hoover said. 

In December, the investigator, posing as a different girl, again contacted Ferrel, who negotiated to meet for sex acts in exchange for money, setting a time, date and location to meet.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ferrel arrived at the location, where he was met by a group of investigators.

Ferrel was arrested on suspicion of arranging a meeting for the purpose of a lewd act with a juvenile, and arriving at a location for the purpose of a lewd act with a juvenile. 

He is being held on $150,000 bail and remained in jail Thursday afternoon.

Ferrel appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Thursday where he faced six felony charges including four counts of contacting a minor with intent to commit a lewd act and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. 

He was ordered to return to court Jan. 22.

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind parents of the dangers associated with social media regardless of the platform. We encourage parents to monitor their children’s social media use and to educate them on the potential dangers of online predators,” Hoover added.

Anyone with information regarding the case can contact the Human Trafficking Unit at 805.93.6245 or sending an e-mail to [email protected]

To leave an anonymous tip, call 805.681.4171 or go to the agency's website by clicking here. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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