U.S. Marine charged with cyberstalking in federal ‘sextortion’ case

The entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton
The entrance to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton near Oceanside.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

An active-duty Marine was in federal custody Wednesday on charges of cyberstalking as part of a “sextortion” campaign to obtain sexual images of women and their feet, authorities said.

Johao Miguel Chavarri, 25, was arrested in Oceanside on Tuesday, where he is stationed at Camp Pendleton. He was due in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Chavarri is accused in a criminal complaint of creating and using numerous online accounts to repeatedly stalk, harass and threaten women in his hometown of Torrance.


Federal officials say that Chavarri used the online alias “Michael Frito” between May 2019 and January 2021 to coerce women to send him nude, sexually explicit or otherwise compromising photos and videos of themselves. Chavarri also created fake social media accounts mimicking some of his victims’ real names and then sent harassing messages to some of their friends and family members, authorities said.

Prosecutors allege that some of the women were targeted for more than a year.

An affidavit detailing the investigation says Chavarri would demand the women provide him with sexual photos or videos of themselves or with pictures or videos of their feet. In some cases, he also required they respond to him and communicate online with him, court documents show.

According to the complaint, Chavarri repeatedly threatened that if the women failed to comply with his demands, he would publish sexually explicit photos and videos of them online or on well-known pornography websites.

He also is accused of threatening to distribute the sexual images to the victims’ loved ones, co-workers and employers and identify them by name. Prosecutors say he told one woman he would spend his “whole life ruining” hers.

Chavarri is charged with stalking. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.