Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 15, 2016
Gainesville Pharmacy Technician Arrested And Charged With Attempted Online Enticement Of A Child To Engage In Illegal Sexual Activity
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced today that Matthew Bryan Caniff (32, Gainesville) has been arrested and charged by a federal criminal complaint with using the Internet to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. His detention hearing is scheduled for today at 3:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate James R. Klindt.
According to the complaint, between March 31 and April 1, 2016, Caniff engaged in a series of online text conversations with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old child. This “child” was actually an undercover FBI agent. During the course of these conversations, Caniff discussed in graphic detail his desire to meet and have sex with the “child” at “her” home. He also sent several explicit photos of himself to the “child,” and told “her” that he would bring prescription drugs with him to share with “her.” Caniff confirmed that the “child” was alone at the residence and that “her” parent was going to be out of town for several days. During the early morning hours on April 1, 2016, Caniff drove from Gainesville to a home in St. Johns to meet the “child” for sex. He was arrested by deputies from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s, and a knife and several pills were found in his possession.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.