On the morning of Jan. 28, a man currently living in Santa Rosa Beach was arrested for possession of child pornography.
Ricky Hugo Diaz, 35, was living with roommates at 175 Santa Barbara Ave., in an area behind the post office when arrested. Chief Deputy AJ Smith said he believed Diaz had recently moved here from Kentucky.
"He was chatting up under-age girls trying to get pictures of them, sending pictures and videos of himself, and trying to trade," said Smith.
The sheriff's office received a cyber tip from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in September that originated on Twitter, and began investigating, working alongside Mediacom.
When deputies served the search warrant, numerous images of nude children were found.
Diaz was charged with 10 counts of solicitation, 50 counts of possession of child pornography, and 45 counts of distribution of such, and booked into the Walton County Jail.
Smith said he did not believe Diaz had any prior arrests for these particular crimes.
"We do want people to know that the sheriff and I are committed to putting these kind of individuals in jail," said Smith. "There is nothing worse than grown men preying on children. We are dedicated and committed to bringing them to justice. We urge parents to be aware of what your kids are doing on the computer and social media sites. It's important. We want people to know we take this very seriously."
“Crimes against children is one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson in a statement. “I commend the efforts of our investigators in this case. This man is a disturbed individual and needs to spend the rest of his life in prison.”