Cybertip leads to Fellsmere man’s arrest on child porn charges

FELLSMERE — A man suspected of using a social media app to send child pornography images to another user told deputies he had more than 1,000 images of child porn on his phone, authorities said.

Gustavo Pantoja, 18, of the 200 block of South Hickory Street, was charged with seven counts of child pornography and three counts of transmission of child pornography by electronic device. He was released Thursday from the Indian River County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Deputies investigated a cyber-tip from Snapchat, a social media app, last month that was reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip, which was initially reported in November 2017, stated that a user had uploaded a photo depicting two children engaging in sexual acts with each other, deputies said.

Deputies tracked down the social media user’s IP or internet address and determined he used AT&T U-verse, an arrest report states. Deputies learned that the account was active and registered to Pantoja, authorities said.

Wednesday, deputies went to Pantoja’s home and spoke with him. Deputies searched Pantoja’s phone and found numerous photos and videos depicting child pornography, an arrest report states.

Pantoja broke down crying while deputies looked at the images, authorities said. In a follow up interview, deputies searched Pantoja’s phone again, which Pantoja said had more than 1,000 pictures and videos of child porn.

Deputies found a conversation where he and another user exchanged child pornography images through Kik, an instant messaging mobile application, deputies said.

Pantoja was arrested and taken to the county jail for booking. He has a court arraignment at 8:30 a.m. April 4, court records show.

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