FLORENCE — A Pinal County Sheriff's Office employee has been arrested in association with an “internet” crimes, according to Sheriff Mark Lamb.
Pinal County Detention Officer Rick Vasquez, 42, of Coolidge was arrested Wednesday morning at his Coolidge home by the Arizona Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
He is charged with the sexual exploitation of a minor.
Sgt. Mercedes Fortune of the Phoenix Police Department told a Phoenix TV station Vasquez was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on “several counts.”
Authorities said child pornography allegedly was discovered on Vasquez’s cellphone.
Vasquez reportedly told authorities that he distributed the pictures and videos through social media.
Instead of contacting the media, on Wednesday morning, Lamb announced the news via a video on Facebook but did not identify the officer arrested.
“Unfortunately, I have to share some tough news with you today,” Lamb said. “One of our employees was arrested by another agency. I cannot get into the details of the case because there is more investigation. However, it involved internet crimes. I just wanted to let you know that we are cooperating with that agency. That employee has been placed on admin leave pending the investigation. As your sheriff I just want you to hear it from me first.”
Vasquez has been with the county since 2003 and has been put on unpaid administrative leave.