A 31-year-old Santa Maria man used a fake Facebook profile to obtain nude photos from teenage girls and then attempted to manipulate them into engaging in sex acts, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators arrested Trevor Ferrel earlier this week following a multi-month investigation. Ferrel allegedly used various tactics to get juvenile or teenage girls to meet him for sex acts, including threatening to post the nude pictures he received, threatening to notify the girls’ parents or offering money in exchange for sex.
In Aug. 2017, the Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Unit received information that Ferrel was using an alias Facebook profile to victimize teenage girls. The following month, an undercover detective posing as an underage female made contact with Ferrel.
The Santa Maria man negotiated and arranged to meet and pay money for specific sex acts. The meeting did not occur, and the detective continued to pursue the case.
Investigators obtained a search warrant related to Ferrel’s Facebook account. A search of the account revealed Ferrel made several other attempts to contact high school-aged females, solicit nude photos and meet with them for sex acts.
In December, the detective contacted Ferrel again, using a different female juvenile alias. Ferrel again negotiated to meet and exchange money for specific sex acts.
At approximately 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Ferrel arrived at the agreed location. Investigators contacted him inside his vehicle and arrested him.
Deputies booked Ferrel in Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of arranging a meeting for the purpose of a lewd act with a juvenile and arriving a location for the purpose of a lewd act with a juvenile. Ferrel’s bail was set at $150,000.
Sheriff’s officials believe there is strong likelihood that Ferrel has victimized additional juveniles. Investigators request that anyone who has more information about the case contact the Sheriff’s Human Trafficking Unit at (805) 934-6245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Likewise, sheriff’s officials are reminding parents of the dangers associated with social media and are encouraging them to monitor their children’s social media use and educate them about the potential danger of online predators.