LOS ANGELES – An active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton was arrested Tuesday on charges that he cyberstalked multiple young women with ties to his former hometown of Torrance in a “sextortion” campaign.
Johao Miguel Chavarri, 25, of Oceanside, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the criminal complaint unsealed following his arrest, from 2019 through 2021, Chavarri, using the online alias “Michael Frito,” created and used numerous online accounts to repeatedly stalk, harass, and threaten women who would not give in to his demands that, among other things, they send him nude, sexually explicit or otherwise compromising photos and videos of themselves. This type of conduct is commonly referred to as sextortion. According to the complaint, in some cases, his cyberstalking, threats and sextortion demands continued for over a year.
Chavarri’s harassing and extortionate threats and demands of the victims generally followed a pattern outlined in complaint affidavit. In some instances, he allegedly demanded that the victims provide him with sexual photos or videos of themselves, or photos or videos of their feet. In other instances, he demanded that they respond to him and communicate online with him.
According to the complaint, in multiple instances, Chavarri threatened that, if his victims refused to comply with his demands, he would publish sexually explicit photos and videos of the victims online or on well-known pornography websites. He also allegedly threatened to distribute the photos or videos to the victims’ boyfriends, friends, families or employers, whom he would often identify by name.
According to the complaint, one message sent by Chavarri to multiple victims via Instagram stated that he would spend his “whole life ruining” their lives. Chavarri allegedly also created fake social media accounts mimicking some of the victims’ names and sent harassing messages to some of the victims’ friends and family members.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Chavarri is charged with stalking. If convicted, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
The FBI is investigating the case, with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Anyone who believes they are a victim in this case or is aware of a victim in this case is urged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, which can be reached 24 hours a day at (310) 477-6565.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Restrepo of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section and Justice Department Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.