2 suspects in child exploitation sting appear in Recorder’s Cour - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

2 suspects in child exploitation sting appear in Recorder’s Court

(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM) (Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM) (Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM) (Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Two men arrested in a multi-agency sting appeared before a judge, pleading not guilty to charges of child exploitation in Columbus Recorder’s Court.

Eric Menefee of Opelika and Gary Whitfield of Columbus were two of 21 men arrested after operation “Hidden Guardian.”

The group of suspects traveled from areas around Columbus with the intent to meet a child for sex.

We spoke to Menefee's attorney, Stacey Jackson, about the about the nature of this case.

“My client is totally denying the charges, and that's why I asked the question; whether or not the alleged text messaged, or what have you, link back to my client's phone,” said Jackson.

Investigators testified in court Tuesday morning that they've collected more than 600 exchanges from the 21 suspects on various social media and internet platforms.

Both Menefee and Whitfield's cases were bound over to Superior Court. Their bonds were set at $25,000 per count.

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