OLDSMAR, Fla - U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III announced federal charges against an Oldsmar man accused of luring underage girls to have sex with him using social media and a fake identity.
Carlos Garcia, 21, of 542 Longwood Circle, Oldsmar, is charged with receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography, attempting to coerce or entice a minor to engage in sexual activity through any facility of interstate commerce, and attempted transportation of a minor in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual activity.
Federal agents say Garcia posed on Facebook as an underage girl and used the alias "Xavier Constantinos" in an effort to lure a 16-year-old Clearwater girl to meet him and take a trip out-of-state to engage in sex.
A scenario Special Agent Bill Williger with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement says is becoming more prevalent.
"It is becoming a lot more routine," said Williger.
Garcia was arrested Sunday morning shortly after he arrived at the teen's home.
Investigators say they were watching his every move and moved in to arrest Garcia when he placed the girl's luggage in the trunk of his car.
"Individuals are passing as juveniles to gain their trust and they they show up and they're not who they advertise themselves to be," Willger warned.
Members of the Clearwater Human Trafficking Task Force made the arrest.
Inside Garcia's trunk, investigators told ABC Action News they found "grooming material" for sex.
According to an arrest affidavit, items found in the trunk included vodka, marijuana and a written itinerary for the trip.
Agents want parents to know situations like this can be stopped before they get this far.
"I think the biggest thing parents can do is monitor their children's social media networks because that is where these cases originate," Williger explained.
Law enforcement officers also say they examined several of Garcia's email accounts and found hundreds of child porn images.
Investigators worry local children could have sent those pictures to Garcia.
"If you wouldn't want your parents to see if, don't send that picture," Williger said.
Clearwater Police also charged Garcia with interference of child custody, traveling to meet a minor, marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, and illegally using a computer service to lure a child.
Garcia told police he would have had sex with the girl if she had consented, an arrest affidavit states.
He was released on $20,300 bond Monday. However, federal authorities were there to re-arrest him.
Garcia went before a federal judge Tuesday and is now being held without bond.
If convicted on the federal charges, Garcia could face up to 50 years in prison.
For tips on how to keep your children safe on the internet, click the link for child safety tips from FDLE .