In a crackdown on online predators, Santa Barbara resident Samuel William Lafond was snagged in a sting operation targeting individuals seeking illicit encounters with minors. According to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, Lafond is facing a felony charge for allegedly attempting to lure what he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex acts, as revealed in an official statement.
Following the trap set by the Child Exploitation & Human Trafficking Task Force (CEHTTF) during the week of November 27, 2023, Lafond reportedly struck up sexual conversations with an undercover officer camouflaged as a teenager, the DA's office detailed. On December 5, Lafond allegedly took the bait and traveled to Ventura County to meet the supposed underage girl, but instead, he was met by law enforcement officers and placed under arrest. Compounding his legal woes, it turns out Lafond is a registered sex offender and has an outstanding felony warrant.
Charged under California Penal Code 288.4(b) for child luring, Lafond entered a plea of not guilty at his initial court appearance in Ventura County Superior Court. Deputy District Attorney Michael Kern of the Sexual Assault Unit is spearheading the prosecution.
Lafond's legal journey is far from over, with his next rendezvous in the courtroom scheduled for a bail review on December 12 at 1:30 p.m., followed by an early disposition conference slated for December 19. Meanwhile, as the courts deliberate his fate, he remains confined in the Ventura County Jail; his potential freedom is currently priced at $500,000 bail.