GBI: 20 ar­rested in child ex­ploita­tion sting in­clud­ing one Rome man

♦ A ma­jor­ity of the men ar­rested were from the Cartersville area.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - Staff re­ports

An un­der­cover four day op­er­a­tion cen­tered in Bar­tow County — dubbed Pal­adin — net­ted the ar­rest of 20 men over a four day pe­riod.

The op­er­a­tion took sev­eral months of plan­ning, a GBI press re­lease stated, and sev­eral of the men — in­clud­ing one reg­is­tered sex of­fender —trav­eled from ar­eas around North­west Ge­or­gia with the in­tent to meet a child for sex.

“Over the course of the op­er­a­tion, over 30 cases were es­tab­lished that met the thresh­old for ar­rest,” the re­lease stated. “Twenty of those cases were con­cluded with ar­rests.”

Sev­eral sub­jects com­mu­ni­cated si­mul­ta­ne­ously with mul­ti­ple in­ves­ti­ga­tors pos­ing as mi­nors. Twen­ty­four mo­bile phones, sus­pected il­le­gal drugs and at least one firearm were seized as ev­i­dence dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

The fol­low­ing were ar­rested and charged in Bar­tow County as part of “Op­er­a­tion Pal­adin”:

Ran­dall Ball, 25, of Ac­worth, gro­cery stocker

Bai­ley Brown, 29, of Jasper, emer­gency home re­pair re­spon­der

Richard Brown, 53, of Trion, mill worker

Steven By­ers, 33, of Jasper, elec­tri­cian

Bryan Cain, 36, of Cal­houn, un­em­ployed/col­lege stu­dent

Jef­frey Cole­man, 52, of Cartersville, glass tech­ni­cian

Michael Crider, 51, of Cartersville, CAD op­er­a­tor

Daniel Dor­ough, 56, of Cartersville, self-em­ployed land­scaper

Daniel Ewart, 38, of Cartersville, tow truck driver

Shawn Jef­frey, 26, of Pow­der Springs, pest con­trol tech­ni­cian

Clarence Mann, 59, of Kingston, truck driver

Ver­nale Mas­call, 25, of Cartersville, fast food worker

Rick Paul, 25, of Dal­las, Cer­ti­fied Nurs­ing As­sis­tant

Isaac Sanchez, 20, of Sum­merville, pain­ter

Char­lie Smith III, 45, Cartersville, pa­tient care tech­ni­cian

Thomas Smith, 43, of Rome, de­liv­ery driver

Ti­mothy Smith, 57, of Cartersville, cus­tomer ser­vice

Con­ner Thrash, 28, of Wood­stock, truck driver

Michael Turner, 37, of Villa Rica, un­em­ployed

Michael Wills, 34, of Cartersville, tree ser­vice em­ployee

Those ar­rested are charged com­puter or elec­tronic pornog­ra­phy and child ex­ploita­tion preven­tion act of 2007 and/or traf­fick­ing of per­sons for la­bor or sex­ual servi­tude. Many may face ad­di­tional charges.

Since 2014, the Ge­or­gia In­ter­net Crimes Against Chil­dren Task Force has ar­rested over 100 peo­ple in sim­i­lar oper­a­tions — the ma­jor­ity of which take place on var­i­ous so­cial me­dia or in­ter­net plat­forms. About half of the 200plus ex­changes in­volved web­sites used for dat­ing, so­cial­iz­ing, or even web­sites used for clas­si­fied ad­ver­tise­ments.

“This type of co­op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion is in­valu­able in the ef­fort to keep our chil­dren safe from preda­tors who seek to harm them,” ICAC Com­man­der Deb­bie Garner said.

The task force is com­prised of 23-plus lo­cal, state, and fed­eral law en­force­ment agen­cies, other re­lated crim­i­nal jus­tice agen­cies and pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fices.

“This op­er­a­tion is a prime ex­am­ple of in­ter­a­gency plan­ning and co­op­er­a­tion,” Bar­tow County Sher­iff Clark Mill­sap stated. “I am proud that we were able to host the Ge­or­gia ICAC Task Force at our fa­cil­ity to carry it out.”

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