Metter man among 82 arrested in multi-state child porn operation

Crime & Safety
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METTER, Ga. (WSAV) – A joint operation focused on child pornography and exploitation put 82 people behind bars, including an IT specialist from Metter.

Furthermore, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), 17 children were rescued or identified as victims during “Operation Southern Impact III.”

About four months ago, law enforcement agencies from eight southeastern states began plan the operation which culminated in three days of search warrant executions, undercover operations and sex offender visits.

According to the GBI, arrestees range in age from 20 to 70.

In Georgia, 31 people were arrested, most for possessing and/or distributing child pornography. The GBI says of those 31, seven suspects traveled for the purpose of meeting and having sex with a minor.

One Metter man, 39-year-old Timothy Wayne Diggs, was arrested in the operation. According to the GBI he is an information technology specialist.

According to the Candler County Sheriff’s Office, Diggs was arrested Wednesday, May 1 at a residence on Ponderosa Road.

He was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation and possession of marijuana. The sheriff’s office says Diggs could face more charges.

For the names of the others arrested, visit the GBI’s site here.

“Some of their occupations included non-profit employee, small business owner, store clerk, mechanic, daycare administrator, youth group leader, former high school band director, freelance photographer, construction worker and painter,” a statement from the GBI reads.

The agency said the operation mainly targeted people seeking out and distributing “the most violent sexual abuse material involving infants and toddlers.”

The GBI says possession, distribution and production of these images is not uncommon.

“The dedicated law enforcement professionals that are part of the Georgia ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force will not cease searching for those who are producing, trading and collecting this graphic material,” said Special Agent Debbie Garner. “We will continue to work together to find, investigate and prosecute these predators.”

Operation Southern Impact III involved agencies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The GBI says a total of 171 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated in the operation.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to all of the agencies involved with this operation and thank them for a job well done,” said Candler County Sheriff John Miles in a statement. “Without great cooperation between law enforcement agencies, operations of this magnitude would be far more difficult.”

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