The News: Four people have been arrested and charged with child exploitation and at least two children were identified as possible prior victims of molestation during a two day coordinated effort between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, and the GBI’s Special Enforcement Team. The GBI work units partnered to investigate numerous cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The Operation: The cybertips involved the possession and/or distribution of explicit child sexual abuse images, commonly referred to as child pornography, that resolved to Clayton County.
The planning for this operation began approximately two months ago and culminated in two days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, knock and talks, interviews, data and image analysis, digital forensic processing, and arrests. Those arrested were charged with with crimes related to the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007 along with several other crimes including enticing a child for indecent purposes and charges related to illegal drug possession. Additional charges are likely and other arrests will occur after analysis of seized digital devices.
The effort focused on persons who possess and distribute child sexual abuse images and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet.
The Arrests: The four arrestees ranged in age from 22 to 60. During the effort, 13 search warrants were executed. During those search warrants 57 digital devices were previewed by GBI Digital Forensic Investigators and at least seven of those digital devices were seized as evidence. Thirty-six of the digital devices previewed were mobile phones. Investigators who work child exploitation investigations are increasingly seeing more mobile phones as the main instrument by which predators seek out child sexual abuse material and communicate with others who are like minded.
Agencies Involved: In addition to those agencies involved in the planning of the operation, the Clayton County Police Department, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Forest Park Police Department, all assisted the GBI during the warrant execution and arrest portions of this effort.