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Utahn, 53, posed as 21-year-old to prey on children, police say

A Nibley man has been arrested and accused of sexually exploiting children on social media.

A Nibley man has been arrested and accused of sexually exploiting children on social media. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

LOGAN — A Cache County man who police say was posing as a much younger person to prey on children on social media has been arrested for investigation of numerous counts of child sexual exploitation.

Fredy Danilo Argueta, 53, of Nibley, was booked into the Cache County Jail on Tuesday and by Wednesday he had been formally charged in 1st District Court with 37 felonies in two separate cases, including: 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony; six counts of enticing a minor by text or internet, and six counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor, both third-degree felonies; and 15 counts of forgery, a third-degree felony.

The investigation began in October when members of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone was sending suspected child pornography to others through Facebook.

"Facebook data revealed that the suspect account engaged in numerous chats with other Facebook users who identify themselves as minors. The suspect account identifies himself as a 21-year-old male. The suspect engages in sexually explicit conversations with many other minor Facebook users and obtains pornographic content from them," according to a police booking affidavit. "The user is also part of a group chat in which pornographic content is shared."

Task force agents said they developed information that the user was Argueta and on Oct. 23 served a search warrant at his residence. A tablet seized by investigators belonging to Argueta was found to have child pornography on it, the affidavit states.

"Furthermore, Fredy contacted at least six minors — identified by their own messages stating their age — and engaged in sexually explicit conversations with them. He would request pornographic material from them and/or solicit them in a sexual manner. He also would send pornographic images to them," according to the affidavit. "Fredy actively and regularly posed as a 21-year-old male on the internet in order to sexually exploit minors."

During their investigation, police also found several forged Social Security cards and other documents in his room, the affidavit alleges.

"Seven false Social Security cards, four false permanent resident cards, one false employment authorization card, one false California driver's license, one false Utah identification and a false birth certificate from Puerto Rico" were seized, police wrote in the affidavit.


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