By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Two Hall homes searched in child porn sweep
Operation: Restore Hope hits 34 counties
Placeholder Image

The homes of two Hall County residents were searched in connection with Tuesday’s statewide child pornography sweep, officials said.

“Operation: Restore Hope” involved 40 search warrant teams that fanned out across 34 Georgia counties, said John Whitaker, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s High Tech Investigations Unit.

Authorities seized computers and external storage devices to be analyzed for sexually explicit images of children, Whitaker said.

Investigators traced the images to computer users logged on to peer-to-peer sharing sites where child porn is downloaded and uploaded, Whitaker said.

“Everything we’re doing is related to trading or sharing,” he said.

In Hall County, two search warrants were served: one in a South Hall subdivision on Monday and another on Tuesday morning in another neighborhood, officials said. Authorities did not release the names of the residents of the homes where the searches took place.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mike Ayers said no one from Hall County had been arrested in connection with the searches, pending analysis of the seized items.

By late Tuesday afternoon, 235 computers or other storage devices were seized and 35 people were arrested, Whitaker said.
The multi-agency operation was about twice as big as a similar child porn sweep in March 2009, Whitaker said.

In Operation: Shattered Innocence, 25 Georgians were arrested on child pornography charges, including Jesus Elias Martinez Jr., a 21-year-old poultry plant worker who lived in the 2200 block of Athens Highway.

Authorities believe Martinez may have sent or received as many as 600 sexually explicit images of children. His case remains pending.
Whitaker said investigations for this week’s sweep began in October.

He said the explicit photos and videos found were “across the board — anything from infants to 15, 16 years old.”

Whitaker said more sweeps will follow.

“As soon as we get the forensic (examinations) on these computers done, we’ll be ready to start cranking it up again,” he said.

Regional events