Child Porn Investigation: Hyster Driver Had 3 Cellphones

A registered sex offender and a Trion mill worker face multiple child pornography charges after a mutually coordinated law enforcement operation between eight southeastern states.
Sex offender Aaron Cody Helton, 36, and Mount Vernon Mills Technician Darren Alan Vincent, 47, are among 76 people arrested last week for sharing or downloading pornographic images depicting sexual acts with toddlers and children, according to Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader.
“The investigation targeted the worst of the worse,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s department became involved with the multi-state task force when agents discovered pornographic images were being distributed and downloaded in Chattooga County.
When task force agents told the sheriff they thought Helton was sharing child pornography, Schrader was not surprised. Earlier in the sheriff’s administration, Helton pleaded guilty to 65 counts of possession of child porn.
Helton served a year and nine months in prison and was released in June 2016.
Despite being on parole and told to stay away from the internet, Helton disobeyed, according to the sheriff.
“Helton lives in Adairsville. He traveled to Chattooga County to visit his parents on the weekend. While there, he would upload and download child porn. He was sharing child pornography through a peer-to-peer network,” Sheriff Schrader said.
Agents confronted Helton at his workplace in Cartersville last week.
“They ended up taking three cellphones and a memory card reader while he was at work,” Schrader said. “Why would a Hyster driver need three cellphones and a memory card reader?”
The sheriff believes child pornography is a growing online problem.
“It’s an extremely fast-growing problem nationwide. The ability to share these files worldwide is getting easier. You don’t have to be very technologically advanced to share these files worldwide,” Sheriff Schrader said.
The exact charges against Helton are expected to come later this week, the sheriff said.
The other local person arrested, Vincent, in the operation was nabbed in Floyd County after a police chase. Vincent fled Floyd County Police in his Toyota Camry. He slammed into a stationary Floyd County officer who was blocking traffic in the chase. The officer was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later released.
Vincent was arrested for aggressive driving, speeding, reckless driving, fleeing or attempting to elude officers, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of children, aggravated assault on a police officer and driving on the wrong side of the road.

FOUR MONTHS
The planning for the operation began approximately four months ago and culminated in two days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, undercover operations, and arrests in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. A total of 222 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated in the operation.
Those arrested ranged in age from 17 to 72. Some of their occupations included postal worker, non-profit employee, small business owner, store clerk, mechanic, daycare administrator, pastor, construction worker and magician.
During the operation, 136 search warrants were executed and 100 knock and talks were conducted. More than 700 digital devices were previewed and 1,255 digital devices were seized. Of those devices seized, 235 were mobile phones.
These investigative actions resulted from both reactive cases such as cybertips received by each ICAC Task Force from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and proactive cases such as peer-to-peer investigations and proactive, on-line undercover investigations.
In Georgia, 34 people were arrested during Operation Southern Impact II. Many of those arrests involved the possession and/or distribution of child pornography. While investigators regularly target the trading of all types of child pornography, in Operation Southern Impact II investigators targeted those seeking out and distributing the most violent child pornography involving infants and toddlers, according to the GBI.
Six of those arrested in Georgia traveled for the purpose of meeting and having sex with a minor. There was one arrest involving sextortion, an alarming trend involving subjects that obtain sexually explicit photos of minors and then threaten or blackmail the victim for additional obscene images or videos. Investigators found instances in which arrested subjects, some of whom had no prior criminal history, were working in positions of trust or jobs where interaction with children is common, according to the GBI.
Eight registered sex offenders were encountered in Georgia during the course of this operation, four of those offenders were charged with new crimes related to child pornography while the others were charged with various compliance violations. There was an additional subject who had an arrest for a prior sex offense but was not a registered sex offender. At least one foster parent with young children was arrested. There were also searches conducted where guns were found and illegal drugs were discovered.
In Georgia, a total of 38 search warrants were executed and 12 knock and talks were conducted during Operation Southern Impact II. Law enforcement officers conducting the searches were looking for evidence of possession and distribution of child pornography using the internet as well as evidence of other child exploitation related crimes. Over the course of the operation, 196 digital devices were examined, and 474 digital media and devices were seized as evidence.