Three felony charges have been filed against a 20-year-old Solvang man accused of attempting to lure a 12-year-old girl into sexual acts in exchange for flavored tobacco products.
Angel Saloman, 20, has been charged with contacting a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense, sending harmful matter with intent to seduce a minor, and possession of a deadly weapon, identified as metal knuckles.
Additionally, he faces an infraction for being a minor in possession of cigarettes or tobacco.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department detectives recently began an investigation after a person allegedly tried to lure a child into sexual acts in exchange for flavored tobacco products, sheriff’s spokeswoman Raquel Zick said Thursday.
On Oct. 20, deputies responded to the 1700 block of Mission Drive in Solvang after a parent began following a suspect who was stalking her child on a social media app, Zick added.
The parent told deputies she had intercepted messages on a social media app from the suspect to her child, and was in the area to catch the man as he was planning to meet up with the child to exchange sexual acts for flavored tobacco products.
Saloman was taken into custody, and charges were filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court two days later.
As of Thursday afternoon, Saloman remained in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $100,000.
He was ordered to return to Santa Maria Superior Court on Nov. 12.
Sheriff’s detectives conducting a follow-up investigation have asked that anyone with additional information about the suspect contact Detective Rivlin at 805.686.8154 or by email at [email protected].
Anonymous tips may be provided by calling the tip line at 805.681.4171 or submitting the information online by clicking here.
Investigators also reminded parents about the attraction of flavored tobacco to youths and the importance of monitoring their social media platforms.
“This suspect’s predatory attempt was thwarted by a diligent parent who intercepted messages on Snapchat,” Zick said. “Addictive flavored tobacco products that are aimed at child consumers who cannot legally purchase them can be used as a commodity to lure children into dangerous acts.”
More information about online child safety can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
The Sheriff’s Department participates in the California Department of Justice’s tobacco grant aimed at promoting a healthier California by reducing illegal sales and marketing of cigarettes and tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors. For more about the dangers of tobacco use by children, visit tobaccofreeca.com.
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