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Pace man charged with traveling to Okaloosa for sex with underaged girl

From staff reports

Members of the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit have charged a Pace man with attempting to produce child pornography, traveling to meet a minor for sex and three other felonies.

John Mason Collins

John Mason Collins, 23, was arrested Jan. 8 after he traveled from Alabama to Okaloosa County to engage in unlawful sexual activity with a child under the age of 15, according to a OCSO news release.

Between Dec. 17, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021, an undercover investigator posing as a 14-year-old girl had social media conversations with Collins in which he solicited the "minor" for sexual encounters and "images that would constitute production of child pornography," according to Collins' arrest report.

It was not made clear from the release as to why he was traveling from Alabama.

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The investigator set a location for Collins to met with the "teen," and Collins was taken into custody when he arrived. Officers found a firearm under the driver's seat of his vehicle and subsequently determined he did not have a concealed weapons permit, the news release said. 

Additional charges against Collins include use of a computer to solicit a minor, carrying a concealed weapon and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.

The arrest was the result of collaborative efforts among the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Walton Beach Police Department and Crestview Police Department, the release said.