Child Porn Sweep Nets 5 Suspects in 2 Counties - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Child Porn Sweep Nets 5 Suspects in 2 Counties

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Soufi Mahmoud Soufi Mahmoud
Joshua Conner Joshua Conner
Jose Gomez Jose Gomez
William Oldfield William Oldfield
Dale Davis Dale Davis

Effingham County Sheriff's hit the beat early Wednesday morning to try and stop the spread of child pornography.

They were part of a 3-month investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Search warrants were executed Wednesday in 37 Georgia Counties in connection with the distribution of child porn over the Internet.  

Known as "Operation Guarding Innocence", this state-wide endeavor includes 50 teams representing 47 Federal, State and Local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.  

For Effingham County Sheriff's Investigators, it all started before dawn with a startling knock on the door for one Springfield family.

Deputies walk in with a search warrant and questions in hand, thanks to months of investigative work by Joe Heath of ICAC, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"These are targets we have pulled because of the age of the children they are downloading for. Anywhere from 10 years old to infants," explained Deputy Joe Heath.

A short time later a man was taken from the house. On his computer, dozens of images of kids as young as seven involved in sexual situations.

The next picture he will see is his own mug shot.

Then it was from Effingham to Chatham County, and East Savannah.

Effingham County Investigators went into a home on Shirley Drive and found various computers, video game systems, and phones with illegal pictures on them.

The man inside left without his electronics, in handcuffs, facing charges.

From there another Savannah home, this one off Derenne ave.

This time the suspect admitted he had been downloading porn almost as soon as investigators got inside the door.

The images and videos discovered shocked even the deputies who saw them.

"These people out there are your child predators or future child predators," said David Ehsanipoor of the Effingham County Sheriff's Department. "A couple of these people had online videos of young boys being raped by older men. Just to look at it is disgusting."

Turns out these disgusting images were downloaded by a man with computer experience, and a degree to boot.

An education he can continue behind bars.

One more stop, at the English Oaks apartments.

A man who is caught with various electronics and various videos and pictures of underage boys and girls. Overall a successful day.

Five total suspects arrested from Effingham and Chatham counties, all admitting to their crime.

"Some right away, Some after a few questions," said Heath. "They readily admitted to it."

Months of hard work by Investigator Joe Heath online leads to real world arrests.

"He takes this to heart. The Sheriff takes this to heart," says Ehsanipoor. "And there's really nothing worse than someone who is going to go after a child or child predator. These are the people we locked up today."

"If this is what you are going to do, you are going to see me eventually,' smiles Heath."

26 year old Joshua Conner of Savannah, 21 year old Dale Andrew Davis of Savannah, 25 year old Soufi Mahmoud of Savannah, 34 year old William Oldfield of Springfield, and 27 year old Jose Gomez of Savannah, have all been charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
 
Images obtained by each person arrested were of children 11 years of age or younger.
 
ECSO seized 10 desk top computers, 3 laptops, 1 tablet, 6 cell phones, and 5 gaming consoles
 
All five suspects are currently being held in the Effingham County Jail.

The agencies participating in Operation Guarding Innocence are as follows:

1.      Georgia Bureau Of Investigation

2.      U.S. Postal Inspection Service

3.      U.S. Secret Service

4.      Homeland Security Investigations

5.      Federal Bureau Of Investigation

6.      U.S. Marshal Service

7.      Bureau Of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives

8.      United States Attorney's Office Northern District Of Georgia

9.      United States Attorney's Office Southern District Of Georgia

10.  United States Attorney's Office Middle District Of Georgia

11.  Houston County Sheriff's Office

12.  Gwinnett County Police Department

13.  Atlanta Police Department

14.  Cobb County Police Department

15.  Newton County Sheriff's Office

16.  DeKalb County Police Department

17.  Henry County Police Department

18.  Walton County Sheriff's Office

19.  Paulding County Sheriff's Office

20.  Kingsland Police Department

21.  Sandy Springs Police Department

22.  Liberty County Sheriff's Office

23.  Clayton County Police Department

24.  Douglas County Sheriff's Office

25.  Richmond County Sheriff's Office

26.  Columbia County Sheriff's Office

27.  St. Mary's Police Department

28.  Camden County Sheriff's Office

29.  Loganville Police Department

30.  Lowndes County Sheriff's Office

31.  Effingham County Sheriff's Office

32.  Army CID

33.  Athens-Clarke Police Department

34.  Coweta County Sheriff's Office

35.  Union City Police Department

36.  Baldwin County Sheriff's Office

37.  Savannah – Metro Police Department

38.  Roswell Police Department

39.  Watkinsville Police Department

40.  Powder Springs Police Department

41.  Lamar County Sheriff's Office

42.  Warner Robins Police Department

43.  Columbus Police Department

44.  Bartow County Sheriff's Office

45.  Marietta Police Department

46.  Forsyth County Sheriff's Office

47.  Cherokee County Sheriff's Office

 

This operation, which ran from January through March, centered on the ability of GBI agents and local affiliates that are members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force to detect specific child porn images being shared over the Internet. Ninety-eight (98) suspects have been identified as distributing child porn over the Internet and are targeted for search warrants in today's operation.  

The mission of the ICAC Task Force Program, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and housed within the GBI, 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 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. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. The ICAC Task Force Program is an important partnership that focuses its efforts to protect children on-line and hold offenders accountable.  The ICAC Task Force investigators are committed to working tirelessly to strengthen police relationships and promoting awareness and participation in order to produce positive results that help make the Internet a safer place for America's children.

In 2008, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 109 arrests and in 2009 made 164 arrests. In 2010, the Task Force made 162 arrests and in 2011,  made 173 arrests. There were a total of 163 arrests made in 2012. There have been 974 arrests in Georgia by the ICAC Task Force since it was established in 2002.

The Georgia ICAC Task Force website iswww.familyinternet.info and the GBI website is http://gbi.georgia.gov/.

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