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How a Super Bowl investigation led to man's child exploitation conviction
Matthew Cody Smith.jpg
Matthew Cody Smith - photo by Hall County Sheriff's Office

A Winder man took a plea deal for attempted cyber offenses in a case that stemmed from a statewide investigation concerning the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, according to court documents.

Matthew Cody Smith, 25, was given a 15-year sentence July 9 with the first 18 months in confinement. Smith will receive credit for time served, and the rest of the sentence may be served on probation.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said Smith first made contact Jan. 31, 2019, with someone he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. Authorities said this happened during “Operation Interception,” which ran months before and during the Super Bowl in Atlanta concerning people communicating with children online, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The GBI announced 21 arrests in February 2019.

The Sheriff’s Office said Smith made contact 11 times between May 15-June 5 of 2019, and Smith was arrested June 6, 2019.

Smith was charged in a March indictment with two counts of obscene internet contact with a child and criminal attempts to commit enticing a child for indecent purposes and sexual exploitation of a child.

In the indictment, Smith allegedly arranged to meet with the supposed girl “for the purpose of committing indecent acts.”

The two obscene internet contact charges were dismissed, and Smith received First Offender status for the other two charges.

Smith was ordered to report July 12 to the Hall County Jail to serve the balance of his sentence, and he will also be subject to the sex offender special conditions of probation.

Under the First Offender status, Smith will have the case discharged without being found guilty if he fulfills the terms of his sentence.

The Times left a message for defense attorney Rob McNeill seeking comment.

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