Gainesville pharmacy tech sentenced for child exploitation

33-year-old among men arrested in St. Johns County Sheriff's Office sting

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Matthew Caniff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Matthew Bryan Caniff, 33, of Gainesville, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempted online enticement of a child to engage in sexual activity, online solicitation of child pornography and attempted production of child pornography.  

U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis also ordered five years of supervision release and for Caniff to register as sex offender after his release from prison. 

Caniff, who worked as a pharmacy technician at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, was convicted in January.

According to testimony, Caniff engaged in a series of online text conversations over the internet in March 2016 with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old child. Unbeknownst to Caniff, this "child" was an undercover FBI agent.  During the online conversations, Caniff discussed in detail his desire to have sex with the “child” and sent the “child” several explicit photos of himself.  He also made several requests for the “child” to send him images engaging in sexual conduct. 

In the early morning hours of April 1, 2016, Caniff drove from his residence in Gainesville to a home in St. Johns County to meet the “child” for sex. He was arrested by St. Johns County deputies.

A search of Caniff found he was carrying plastic bag containing several prescription pills that he had taken from the hospital and had intended to share with the “child” during their planned sexual encounter.

“The FBI devotes extensive resources to fighting the horrific crime of child sexual exploitation," said Charles Spencer, special agent in charge of the FBI Jacksonville division, "and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to remove predators from our communities, and bring justice upon those who seek to take advantage of vulnerable young people."