JONESBORO – Ten men have been arrested and charged with child exploitation as part of a four-day coordinated effort between the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, the GBI’s Special Enforcement Team and the Clayton County Police Department.
According to the GBI, at least five children were identified as prior victims during the operation.
As part of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, the agencies partnered to investigate numerous cybertips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The cybertips involved the possession and/or distribution of explicit child sexual abuse images that were linked to Clayton County.
The planning for this operation began approximately four months ago and culminated in four days of search warrant executions, knock and talks, interviews, data and image analysis, digital forensic processing, and arrests. Those arrested were charged under the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. Additional charges are likely and other arrests will occur after analysis of seized digital devices, according to the GBI.
Those arrested ranged in age from 19 to 64. At least two of the suspects had been previously accused of child molestation and at least one had been questioned before related to possession of child pornography.
During the operation, 17 search warrants were executed and 15 knock and talks were conducted. During those search warrants and knock and talks, 130 digital devices were previewed and over 30 of those digital devices were seized as evidence. At least one additional arrest occurred based on the discovery of illegal narcotics.
The joint effort focused on people who possess and distribute child sexual abuse images and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet. The GBI, which manages and coordinates the Georgia ICAC Task Force, received over 7,000 cybertips in 2019. Through June of 2020, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has received close to 6,000 cybertips. Cybertips continue to increase exponentially.
According to the GBI, these cybertips most often involve horrific child sexual abuse images and videos involving children of all ages, including very young children, but also can involve the online enticement of children and child sex trafficking. These cybertips often lead investigators to children that are being sexually abused.
According to the GBI, there is a statistical correlation between those who are seeking, collecting and viewing child sexual abuse material and those that have sexually abused children or are actively sexually abusing children. To date in 2020, the Georgia ICAC Task Force has found almost 60 children living with offenders who are viewing child pornography and identified at least 20 of them as victims of sexual abuse by those offenders as a result of investigating a cybertip from NCMEC. During this effort, there were seven children found living with those who possessed and/or distributed child pornography.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force consistently finds this type of content. GBI’s CEACC Unit Special Agent in Charge and Commander of the Georgia ICAC Task Force, Debbie Garner, stated that “the dedicated law enforcement professionals that are part of the Georgia ICAC Task Force will not cease searching for those who are producing, trading and collecting this graphic material. We will continue to work together to find, investigate and prosecute these predators.”
Clayton County Police Department Chief Kevin Roberts said that “because these predators exist, it is most important that we take opportunities to partner with other law enforcement agencies for the betterment of our communities and for the protection of our children. We thank the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s ICAC Task Force for their ceaseless efforts to proactively pursue these predators and providing the Clayton County Police Department with the ability to participate in the fight to keep our children’s innocence.”
In addition to those agencies involved in the planning of the operation, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, Forest Park Police Department, Jonesboro Police Department, Lake City Police Department, Lovejoy Police Department, Morrow Police Department, and Riverdale Police Department all assisted during various aspects of this effort.
Those arrested and charged in Clayton County are:
1. Geré Patrick Beasley, 19, student.
2. Isaiah Edwards, 22, restaurant employee.
3. Gabriel Fuentes-Arambula, 41, unemployed.
4. Greyson Grant, 23, student.
5. Robert Jump, 55, unemployed.
6. William Moran, 64, unemployed.
7. Luis Alfredo Merida Ortiz, 26, restaurant employee.
8. Kevin Pineda, 24, warehouse worker.
9. Jumah Travers, 32, unemployed.
10. Rico Williams, 21, unemployed.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force is comprised of more than 250 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutors’offices. The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U.S. Department of Justice and managed and operated by the GBI in Georgia, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC Program 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.
The Georgia ICAC Task Force made 350 arrests in 2017. In 2018, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 307 arrests. In 2019, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 474 arrests.