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No local arrests after child porn raids

Posted: April 12, 2013 - 4:04pm

Twitter @ValerieRowell

No arrests have been made after four search warrants related to child pornography were executed locally this week.

Operation Guarding Innocence – a three-month investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force – targeted 98 people statewide involved in Internet child porn trading. Nearly 50 law enforcement agencies executed search warrants based on those recommendations starting Wednesday.

Columbia County authorities seized a computer during a Thursday search, Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. John Whittle said. The contents of the computer will be analyzed.

“Any arrests will be determined by the outcome of the forensic evidence gleaned from that computer,” Whittle wrote in an email.

Three searches were slated in Richmond County. Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael McDaniel said Friday that no arrests had been made.

As of Thursday afternoon, law enforcement completed 78 searches statewide and 150 devices were previewed on-site resulting in 47 people being arrested on 87 counts, according to GBI spokesman John Bankhead. Authorities seized 187 hard drives and smart phones and 27 other devices including thumb drives, CDs and digital cameras.

The goal of the operation, which ran from January through March, was to detect specific child porn images being shared over the Internet and identify those distributing them.

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