WARNER ROBINS — Search warrants were executed Tuesday in 34 counties, including Houston County, in connection with the distribution of child pornography over the Internet, police said.
The Houston County Sheriff’s Office and Warner Robins Police Department joined 33 other agencies, including the GBI, in the crackdown. In all, five search warrants were served by Houston County and Warner Robins law enforcement officers in order to seize computers from those suspected of sharing child pornography over the Internet, said Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Darin Meadows.
Arrests are expected to come later after grand jury indictments, according to Meadows and Tabitha Pugh, public information officer for Warner Robins police.
The search warrants are the result of a three-month investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Houston County Sheriff’s Office and Warner Robins Police Department are members of the task force.
John Whitaker, a GBI special agent in charge of the task force, said more than 50 search warrants were executed Tuesday and that number will climb to 90 by the end of the week.
In some areas, arrests were made during the raids, Whitaker said. Of the 40 people arrested Tuesday, the most common charges were possession of child pornography or distribution of child pornography, he said.Also, about 300 computers were seized during the raids, Whitaker said. About 100 law enforcement officers participated in the effort, he said.
The task force, created by the U.S. Department of Justice and housed within the GBI, is designed to “assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases,” according to a GBI news release.