MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Twelve individuals were arrested, and four children were rescued or identified as victims of child sexual exploitation this week during Operation Southern Impact II, a coordinated initiative involving eight states across the Southeast.
Operation Southern Impact II, which focused on individuals who sexually exploit children by using the Internet, was a joint effort consisting of 10 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces tasked with combating the sexual exploitation of children. Law enforcement officials spent approximately four months to plan, and for two days executed search warrants, conducted undercover operations and made arrests in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. In all, 222 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated, 38 of which are in or near Alabama.
Lieutenant Brooke Walker, Commander of the Alabama ICAC Task Force and Alabama State Bureau of Investigation’s Special Victims Unit said, “Joining forces with all of our law enforcement partners on the Alabama ICAC Task Force and other State ICAC Task Forces emphasizes the commitment that members of the ICAC Program have and will stop at nothing to protect children from those who prey on them. This collaboration from the dedicated men and women who fight every day to defend innocence and arrest child predators makes for a successful mission and a clear impact in this region.”
The following individuals were arrested as part of this Operation:
Charles Salter of Montgomery – 10 counts of Dissemination of Child Pornography
Bobby Guy of Dadeville – SORNA Violation
William Brown Jr. of Silverhill – 7 counts of Possession of Child Pornography
Kevin Perez of Enterprise – 10 counts of Dissemination of Child Pornography
Jon Hunter of Birmingham – 4 counts of Possession of Child Pornography
Chris Tyler of Adger – 6 counts of Dissemination of Child Pornography, SORNA Violation
Chadwick Rice of Pinson – 4 counts of Possession of Child Pornography, SORNA Violation
Timothy Haughery of Opelika – 1 count of Dissemination of Child Pornography, 4 counts of Possession of Child Pornography
Aaron Gill of Lucedale, Miss. – 5 counts of Transmitting Obscene Material to a Minor
***One subject was arrested by a federal agency, but information will not be released pending further investigation.
The 61 ICAC Task Forces across the nation are working cases and conducting investigative actions like this daily, and they want to reinforce to those who exploit children that ICAC Task Forces will work together to make an impact in their respective states and the region as a whole. The cooperation among agencies and states illustrates their level of commitment to detect, arrest and prosecute anyone who preys on children.
Walker said, “Cooperation is always key in law enforcement, but it is vital we collaborate to protect children.” Operation Southern Impact II has given members of these task forces an opportunity to share experience, information and resources across units, agencies and state lines to ensure there is no safe place to hide for criminals who would victimize the most vulnerable among us.
Created by the U.S. Department of Justice, the National ICAC Task Force Program comprises more than 4,000 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutors’ services. The program’s mission is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, as well as victim services, prevention and community education. It was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By assisting state and local law enforcement agencies to develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the national ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.
The following 36 agencies participated as members of the Alabama ICAC Task Force to combine efforts for a successful operation:
Alabama State Bureau of Investigation – Special Victims Unit
Alabama State Bureau of Investigation – Major Crimes Unit
Alabama State Bureau of Investigation – Alcohol Unit
Alabama Fusion Center
ALEA Tactical Team
Brewton Police Department
Orange Beach Police Department
Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office
Homeland Security Investigations – Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville Jurisdictions
Enterprise Police Department
Daleville Police Department
Prattville Police Department
Montgomery Police Department
Tallassee Police Department
United States Marshals Service
Lanett Police Department
Opelika Police Department
Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office
Alexander City Police Department
Florence Police Department
Madison County Sheriff’s Office
Huntsville Police Department
Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force Computer Forensics Lab
Tennessee Valley Computer Regional Laboratory
Federal Bureau of Investigation – Birmingham Office
Rainbow City Police Department
Brookside Police Department
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office
Vestavia Hills Police Department
Etowah County Sheriff’s Office
St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
Pelham Police Department
Moody Police Department
Piedmont Police Department
Also assisting on Alabama cases: Georgia ICAC Task Force, Mississippi ICAC Task Force, Missouri ICAC Task Force and the George County (Miss.) Sheriff’s Office.