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76 arrested in child exploitation operation
Suspects from ages 17 to 72 arrested; GBI executes 136 search warrants
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DECATUR, Ga. — A multistate operation across the Southeast resulted in the arrests of 76 people on charges related to child exploitation.

Operation Southern Impact II also rescued or identified 13 alleged child victims, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Nine Internet Crimes Against Children task forces in eight states focused on people who possess and distribute child pornography and those who otherwise are sexually exploiting children on the internet and through other technologies.

The arrestees ranged in age from 17 to 72. Their occupations included postal worker, nonprofit employee, small-business owner, store clerk, mechanic, day care administrator, pastor, construction worker and magician.

The GBI said 136 search warrants were executed and 100 “knock-and-talks” were conducted in the eight states. Some 736 digital devices were viewed and 1,255 digital devices were seized, including 235 mobile phones.

Thirty-four people were arrested in Georgia, many on charges related to possession and/or distribution of child pornography. Six of the people arrested in the Peach State traveled for the purposes of meeting and having sex with a minor victim. There was one arrest involving “sextortion,” which the GBI called an alarming trend involving subjects who obtain sexually explicit photos of minor victims and threaten or blackmail the victim for additional obscene images or videos.

Eight registered sex offenders were encountered in Georgia during the operation and four of them were charged with new crimes related to child pornography. The remainder were charged with various compliance violations. An additional subject had an arrest for a prior sex offense but was not a registered sex offender.

At least one foster parent with young children was arrested.

Arrested were:

  • Wesley Bunker, 27, Rome, retail store employee
  • Tony Burton, 52, Lawrenceville, unemployed
  • Eric A. Burgess, 17, Suwanee, student
  • Jason R. Cash, 34, Monroe, electrician
  • Anthony L. Crane, 39, Cartersville, construction worker
  • Jeffery Declouet, 46, Suwanee, IT support employee
  • Mark D. Driver, 36, Fort Valley, truck stop employee
  • Kyam Forsyth, 25, Eatonton, unemployed
  • Bill E. Garner, 54, Resaca, unemployed
  • John Garrett, 62, Roswell, former manager of commercial bus service
  • John P. Hart Jr., 34, Sandersville, unemployed
  • Aaron C. Helton, 36, Adairsville, unknown
  • Bryan E. Holloway, 45, Winston, truck driver
  • Mark Horn, 31, Dallas, vocational training nonprofit employee
  • Gordon L. Ingebritsen, 53, Duluth, unemployed
  • Shawn M. Kemp, 31, Cedartown, postal employee
  • Nicholas Knight, 29, Dublin, unemployed
  • Jeffery Lance, 26, Silver, Creek, school board employee/church youth director
  • Donald Allen McFall, 31, Columbus, unemployed
  • Stephen McGatha, 49, Cedartown, unknown
  • John Clark Miller, 57, Winder, glass company technician
  • Jonathan Okelly, 37, Douglasville, unknown
  • Andrew Orr, 34, Marietta, part-time freighter
  • Daniel Pacheco, 27, Tucker, disc jockey
  • Hershell Kyle Pirkle, 29, Rome, restaurant worker
  • Eric Wolfgang Rauth, 35, Elgin, Illinois, employment unknown
  • Benjamin F. Smith, 41, Byron, civilian employee at an air force base
  • Bryan F. Stisher, 35, Roswell, online tutor
  • Karl K. Strenth, Jr., 28, Leesburg, unknown
  • Thomas C. Toler, 54, St. Mary’s, human resources
  • Darren Alan Vincent, Trion, manufacturing worker

The GBI also announced the arrests of 49-year-old Darlene Johnson, 45-year-old Michael Thor and 31-year-old Stephon B. Gary, all of Valdosta. All three were offenders found not to be compliant with terms of previous criminal sentences.

Involved in the operation in Georgia were the Barrow, Bartow, Camden, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Coweta, Crawford, Douglas, Forsyth, Gordon, Hall, Houston, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Lowndes, Pauldling, Peach, Putnam, Walton and Washington county sheriff’s offices; Alpharetta, Athens-Clarke County, Atlanta, Cartersville, Clayton County, Cobb County, Columbus, DeKalb County, Duluth, Floyd County, Glynn County, Gwinnett County, Henry County, LaGrange, Lilburn, Marietta, Polk County, Sandy Springs police departments; the Department of Community Supervision; the FBI; the GBI; the Georgia Fusion Center – GBI-GISAC; the Gwinnett County district attorney’s office; Homeland Security investigations; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.