Police arrested a Buellton man last month after they said the suspect took his cell phone into a store for an upgrade and a technician discovered child pornography on the device, and law enforcement later discovered thousands of obscene images on his home computer.
Salvador Gallegos Munoz, 34, of Buellton was arrested on charges of possession of obscene matter, which was discovered when Munoz returned his iPhone 4S to a service provider in order to upgrade to an iPhone 5, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
A search warrant of his computer at his Central Avenue home yielded thousands of similar images, Harwood said.
An employee at the State Street Sprint Store called police on Dec. 19, after Munoz brought in his phone for a newer model.
“He turned in his old phone and purchased a new one,” Harwood said, and when staff began transferring the data between the phones, “a Sprint technician found an image of an approximately 10- to 12-year-old boy engaged in a sexual act stored in the phone’s memory.”
The technician notified Sprint corporate security, which directed him to notify the Santa Barbara Police Department, and police took custody of Munoz’s old cell phone as evidence.
A search warrant for the phone was obtained and three images of child pornography were found on the phone.
A $20,000 arrest warrant was obtained for Munoz, as well as a search warrant for his home, located on the 400 block of Central Avenue in Buellton.
At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Santa Barbara police detectives executed the search warrant and arrested Munoz, Harwood said.
“Initial examination of his computer equipment revealed that Munoz was in possession of what appears to be thousands of images and videos of child pornography,” he said. “Munoz acknowledged that he has acquired and exchanged child pornography over the internet since 2006. Thus far the investigation does not indicate that Munoz physically abused children.”
Munoz was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.