A driving school instructor in San Mateo County faces federal charges relating to child pornography after allegedly coercing and enticing teenage girls, some his students, to produce explicit content, announced U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds on Thursday.
According to the indictment, 39-year-old Jonnatan Zelaya Izaguirre of Redwood City allegedly offered teenage girls monetary rewards and bought them sex toys to encourage them to film child pornography, both for his own use and for sale. He also offered to manage their sales of explicit content, reads the indictment.
He faces two counts of coercion and enticement of a minor, one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
Zelaya Izaguirre is a graduate of a local police academy and owner of a driving school in San Mateo County. Prosecutors allege he persuaded girls to create explicit videos by posing as a "position of authority" on social media and falsely claiming he was in law enforcement, though he never joined a police department.
Court documents allege Zelaya groomed his victims and developed "sexualized friendships" with them. He allegedly listed off amounts of money that victims could make off of videos based on how explicit the content was.
He also threatened to leak videos of a victim to everyone she knew if she stopped making videos, allege the court documents.
He was arrested on Jan. 4 after an undercover police officer posed as a 17-year-old driving student.
"The government's court filings describe multiple communications between the undercover officer, who had posed as a driving student, and Zelaya Izaguirre that included highly sexualized conversations with instructions on how to masturbate, discussions of future interactions in which he would orally copulate and have sexual intercourse with her, and a request to have the officer perform a photo shoot with him," reads a press release from Hinds' office.
Zelaya is detained until further proceedings, as ordered by Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero. He is scheduled to appear before a district court on Oct. 6.