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Thursday, Jan 17, 2019
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Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his sonís disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.

So he gave investigators his sonís smartphones ó and they found child porn, cops say.

Miami-Dade Schools police early Friday jailed Sean Mesa, 18, a student at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High, on charges of possessing child pornography, as well as improper display of a firearm.

Mesaís arrest comes amid the tightening response to online threats in the wake of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. Ex-student Nikolas Cruz, armed with an AR-15 and extra ammo, killed 17 people and wounded 15 more in the worst school shooting in Florida history.

Before the shooting, Cruz had come to the attention of local and federal authorities for his disturbing online posts with threats and weapons ó red flags that were never investigated.

Since the shooting, police across Florida have arrested a wave of young people who have posted threats about violence online.

Mesa came to the attention of U.S Homeland Security Investigationsí Violent Gang Task Force, which forwarded his Instagram and Snapchat photos "recklessly displaying firearms and pointing them at the camera," according to an arrest warrant.

Miami-Dade Schools Detective John Messenger went to Krop High on Tuesday to try to "engage in a friendly conversation to understand what Sean Mesaís fascination with firearms was."

Mesa, however, bristled ó telling him "he likes guns and it was his right to post on social media whatever he wished." But Mesaís father, concerned about his sonsí posts, agreed to give police the teenís two phones. The U.S. Secret Service examined the phones and found a video of what appeared to be a child under the age of 10 being sexually abused, according to the warrant.

The video had been sent to two others in a group chat, the warrant said.

Using other devices, Mesa continued posting on Snapchat. Another post showed a pistol on his lap with the caption: "now they watching so I ainít stopping."

"The latest Snapchat photos have students and staff at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High alarmed and afraid," according to the warrant.

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