DECATUR, GA (WTVM) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced Friday that 30 people were arrested during an internet child sex exploitation investigation.
Operation Southern Impact issued a total of 54 search warrants in Georgia and Alabama in order to find evidence of possession and distribution of child pornography by using the internet "as well as evidence of other child exploitation related crimes," the release said.
Law enforcement officers in both states said the searches were looking for evidence of possession and distribution of child pornography using the internet as well as evidence of other child exploitation related crimes.
"Operation Southern Impact has given us an opportunity to share our experience, information, and resources across units, agencies, and state lines, to make sure that there is no safe place to hide for criminals who would victimize the most vulnerable among us," the GBI release said.
Through the course of the operation, 162 digital devices were examined and 731 digital media and devices were seized as evidence in Georgia and Alabama.
"The arrestees ranged in age from 22 to 73. Some of their occupations included students, engineer, small business owner, store clerk, mechanic and military cybersecurity personnel," The GBI release said.
Those in custody and charged in Georgia as part of Operation Southern Impact are:
- David Potts, Cumming, GA, 61, retired
- Tyler Quarles, Winterville, GA, 24, store clerk
- Parker Hoekstra, Smyrna, GA, 22, student
- Robert Peters, Winston, GA, 73, retired
- Kenneth Flowers, Dallas, GA, 54, engineer/small business owner
- Corey Moore, Savannah, GA, 38, unemployed
- Russell Love, Jr., Swainsboro, GA, 48, unemployed
- Kevin Tanner, Kite, GA, 40, production line worker
- Dwight Watson, Canton, GA, 43, addiction counseling pastor
- Jonathan Hurwitz, Evans, GA, 48, military cybersecurity personnel
- Benjamin Brinker, Lawrenceville, GA, 30, construction
- Daniel Ridley, Cornelia, GA, 34, fencing company employee
- Kerry Williams, Columbus, GA, 56, mechanic
- Roger McDonald, Valdosta, GA, 61, Registered Nurse
- Shane Murphy, Winder, GA, 37, unemployed
- Jason Herrin, of Douglasville, GA, 27, restaurant employee
- Erik Nateras, of Atlanta, GA, 27, unknown
Those arrested in Alabama were charged with crimes surrounding the sexual exploitation of children. Additional charges may be forthcoming and other arrests may occur after analysis of seized digital devices. Those taken into custody and charged in Alabama as part of Operation Southern Impact are:
- Mitchell Rainwater, 53, of Arab, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Randall Hughes, 23, of Athens, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Dennis Hudson, Jr., 26, of Center Point, for Possession of Child Pornography
- James W. Peterson, 32, of Mississippi, for Federal Charges of Enticement of a Minor
- Andrew Scott Blocker, 33, of Deatsville, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Anthony Edward Goodner, 61, of Hartselle, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Christopher Allen Adams, 38, of Loxley, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Joesph Ganjei, 22, of Wetumpka, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Jonathan Sheldon, 36, of New Hope, for Possession of Child Pornography
- Hope Akron, of Enterprise, for Possession of Marijuana 2nd Degree
- Bobby Warren, of Enterprise, for Possession of Marijuana 2nd Degree
Editor's note: The GBI issued a correction from their initial release, saying that one person previously listed was not arrested. That person's name has been removed from this article.