Music Teacher Stashed Computer With Child Porn at Music School, Cops Say
When a buddy asks you to do him a solid and pick up something he left somewhere -- no big deal, right? If he lets slide that it's a laptop and there might be some illegal stuff on that laptop, run. Run far.
That was the situation that led to the arrest of a Broward man. What's worse: Obviously it's bad news when anyone gets arrested with child pornography. But when you know that alleged child porn fiend was actually regularly working with kids, the whole situation becomes a stomach-turner.
Police say that was the deal with Daniel Jonathan Gast, a Plantation man who was caught in a law enforcement sting earlier this year, according to federal court documents recently unsealed.
Gast first fell under the notice of federal authorities in the middle of 2013 when an IP address linked to the suspect was flagged swapping certain material online.
"Detectives determined that the Target IP had been advertising these files continuously from approximately June 21, 2013 to December 17, 2013," a Homeland Security investigator wrote in a February affidavit. "Many of the file names were found to contain known child pornography search terms such as "PTHC'' which is known by your affiant to stand for 'pre-teen Hard Core' and 'pedo'' which is short for 'pedophilia.''"
Gast, it turns out, was a 28-year-old music teachers who gave private piano lessons. In late January, law enforcement executed a search warrant for the apartment where he lived in Plantation. When police arrived, the suspect was there with his roommate. The latter told police there were four computers usually in the house. Investigators found only three. Gast's Lenovo computer was missing. Gast said he knew nothing about the laptop.
None of the computers found in the apartment contained illegal images, so investigators left. But they continued to keep Gast under surveillance. Soon they followed him to Pro Music Plus, a music school in Weston where the suspect gave lessons. Gast drove to the location, circled the school, then left.
Law enforcement went inside to speak with the school's owner. During the discussion, Gast called the the school to say he'd left "something" at the studio and was sending a friend to pick it up.
Carlos Blanco was that buddy. When he walked into the school, investigators approached him and detailed what was in the works. Blanco agreed to cooperate. He called Gast, who "told Blanco that he had something illegal on the computer and would be in a lot of trouble unless Blanco picked it up," according to court documents.
In a follow-up call, Blanco told Gast that he had the laptop but that it was confiscated by police when he was leaving Pro Music. The suspect told his friend "this could be it for him," documents show.
On the laptop, investigators found 95 videos of explicit material, most involving boys under 12 engaged in sexual activity with adults.
Gast is currently in custody.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.