CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Police in Casa Grande arrested a man after a search yielded, in their words, one of the most significant collections of images involving child sexual abuse that they have ever encountered.
According to a statement released on Sept. 20, 37-year-old Merlin Harrigan was indicted by a Pinal County Grand Jury on 10 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor on Sept. 14, and was arrested by deputies with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 18.
An investigation into Harrigan, according to Casa Grande Police officials, began in February 2022, after their officers executed a search warrant at Harrigan's home in Arizona City. The search warrant stemmed from a felony theft investigation involving Harrigan.
"During the warrant service, Detectives seized numerous items of evidence, including firearms, drugs and drug paraphernalia, and electronic devices," read a portion of the statement. "Detectives also observed children’s clothing, sex toys, and a child sex doll."
Officials said during a forensic analysis of Harrigan's seized electronic devices, they discovered about 151,500 child sexual abuse images and videos.
"This is one of the most significant collections ever encountered on one person’s device(s) investigated by the Casa Grande Police Department," read a portion of the statement.
Police say Harrigan's bond is set at $250,000.
Merlin Harrigan (Courtesy: Casa Grande Police Department)