Chase Gutierrez
Chase Gutierrez (Courtesy of San Juan County Sheriff's Office)

FARMINGTON — San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested three men separately this month on charges that included sharing child porn, exploiting children and planning to meet and have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Jacob Granado, Chase Gutierrez and Mark Brown are being held in the San Juan County Detention Center.

Granado, 25, of Bloomfield, was arrested on two charges of sexually exploiting children: one for owning child porn, which is a fourth-degree felony, and the other for sharing child porn, a third-degree felony, according to a Friday press release issued by the Sheriff's Office. Granado could face up to four years and six months in prison.

Jacob Granado
Jacob Granado (Courtesy of San Juan County Sheriff's Office)

Gutierrez, 30, of Farmington, is charged with soliciting a child by an electronic device, a fourth-degree felony, and soliciting a child by electronic communication and attempting to meet that child, a third-degree felony. He could spend up to four years and six months in prison.

Brown is a 29-year-old Kirtland man who has been charged with three counts of sexually exploiting children: one for owning child porn and two other charges for distributing the porn, according to the news release. He could spend up to seven years and six months in prison.

Bonds for Granado and Brown were set at $50,000, and Gutierrez's bond was set at $20,000, according to the release.

Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Team deputies and Sex Offender Tracking officers arrested the men following a month-long investigation. Granado was arrested on Wednesday, Gutierrez on May 19 and Brown on May 6.

In interviews with Granado, deputies learned he watched and shared child porn and in an investigation of his home — which is a block from the Bloomfield Boys and Girls Club — several "images" were found on his laptops, according to the news release.

Mark Brown
Mark Brown (Courtesy of San Juan County Sheriff's Office)

Because he lived so close to the Boys and Girls Club, investigators asked Granado while he was connected to a polygraph machine if he had ever "touched" a child younger than 16, excluding childhood girlfriends. He failed the questions, indicating dishonesty, but said he had never molested any children, Detective Sgt. Kyle Lincoln said.

Lincoln said the Sheriff's Office will investigate Granado, but discovering potential victims often takes time. He encourages anyone who has relevant information to contact law enforcement authorities.

Over a two-day period, Gutierrez is estimated to have exchanged 300 messages with an officer whom he thought was a 14-year-old girl he intended to have sex with, according to the news release.

"He disclosed to the girl that he is married with children," the news release states, "but fantasizes about getting young girls pregnant." Eventually, he told the girl he wanted to meet her in person, and then, according to the news release, he sent her a video of him "pleasuring himself."

Gutierrez was arrested at the place where he had arranged to meet the girl and a search of his vehicle revealed blankets and bedding.

He told authorities in interviews that he had sex with others he contacted on the Internet. He did not say whether they were minors.

Deputies learned in late 2013 that Brown had been distributing child porn and, eventually — Lincoln would not be more specific — Brown's home was searched. In examinations that followed deputies found child porn on Brown's laptops, Xboxes, PlayStations and Wiis, Lincoln said.

Brown later told deputies he has been watching child porn for several years.

When asked about the methods deputies use to catch consumers and distributors of child porn, Lincoln said they scour the Internet for different "things" that have "markings of child pornography."

"It's almost like digital signatures of known child pornography," he said. "We look for the certain digital signatures."

He declined to reveal too much information about their techniques but said the Sheriff's Office's methods are nothing like that of the National Security Agency's.

"We have no access to your computer. Once the items are identified, we get an (Internet Protocol) address identified," he said, "and we have to do search warrants at that point to know who that IP address even belongs to."

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.