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BPD assists in explotation case

The Brewton Police Department was one of the agencies involved in a two-state investigation into sexual exploitation of children that ended with the arrests of 31 people – including nearly a dozen in Alabama.

Operation Southern Impact was a joint effort by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The law enforcement teams focus on those who possess and distribute child pornography and those who sexually exploit children in other ways using the internet, said ALEA Cpl. Jess Thornton.

Planning for the operation began about three months ago and culminated last week in the 31 arrests over two days. In Alabama, 11 people were taken into custody across the state from cities such as Enterprise, Loxley and Wetumpka.

Thornton said 162 digital devices were examined during the operation, and 731 digital devices seized as evidence. Additional charges and arrests could come after forensic analysis of seized digital devices.

BPD Sgt. Patrick Caylor said department was one of more than 20 that helped assist in the investigation.

“(The BPD) was more than happy to lend a helping hand especially when it comes to protecting our community’s most valuable resources – our children,” Caylor said.

He said the BPD continues to actively investigate all reports of child sex crimes, and anyone with information should contact the BPD at 251.867.3212.