Update on Operation Restore Hope Which Targeted Internet Child Porn Trade

March 15, 2010

DECATUR, GA - As a result of the 3-month investigation known as "Operation Restore Hope" which targeted the distribution of child porn over the Internet, authorities with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force have made 67 arrests and have seized 312 computers.   The seizures do not include numerous CD's, DVD's, thumb drives and other storage devices. As part of this operation, search warrants were executed on January 12th in 35 counties in Georgia.   Most of the charges are related to possession and/or distribution of child pornography.

This state-wide endeavor included 24 local agencies, 4 Federal Agencies (FBI, ICE, the Secret Service and U. S. Postal Service), the 3 U. S. Attorneys' Offices in Georgia (Northern, Middle and Southern Districts) and the Georgia Attorney General's Office.

Began in October of 2009, the operation centered on the ability of GBI agents assigned to the ICAC Task Force to detect specific child porn images being shared over the Internet.  In addition, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, Houston County Sheriff's Office, Liberty County Sheriff's Office, Paulding County Sheriff's Office, Cobb County Police Department, DeKalb County Police Department, LaGrange Police Department, Port Wentworth Police Department, Smyrna Police Department and the Warner Robins Police Department also located targets in Georgia involved in the Internet child porn trade.

The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and housed within the GBI, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC Program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.

In 2007, Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly tripled the size of the GBI ICAC Unit and gave the agency authority to investigate these types of crimes. As a result, the ICAC Task Force, which includes 107 affiliated law enforcement agencies in Georgia, made 103 arrests in 2007, the most of any ICAC task force in the nation.  

In 2008, the Georgia ICAC Task Force made 109 arrests and in 2009 made 164 arrests.

The agencies participating in Operation Restore Hope along with the GBI are as follows:

  • United States Secret Service
  • United States Postal Inspection Service
  • Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • United States Attorney's Office Northern District of Georgia
  • United States Attorney's Office Southern District of Georgia
  • United States Attorney's Office Middle District of Georgia
  • State of Georgia Attorney General's Office
  • Bartow County Sheriff's Office
  • Butts County Sheriff's Office
  • Charlton County Sheriff's Office
  • Port Wentworth Police Department
  • Cherokee County Sheriff's Office
  • Clayton County Police Department
  • Cobb County Police Department
  • Columbia County Sheriff's Office
  • DeKalb County Police Department
  • DeKalb County District Attorney's Office
  • Smyrna Police Department
  • Dougherty County Police Department
  • Liberty County Sheriff's Office
  • Forsyth County Sheriff's Office
  • Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office
  • Hall County Sheriff's Office
  • Houston County Sheriff's Office
  • Warner Robins Police Department
  • Lowndes County Sheriff's Office
  • Columbus Police Department
  • Douglas County Sheriff's Office
  • Paulding County Sheriff's Office
  • Richmond County Sheriff's Office
  • Lagrange Police Department

The Georgia ICAC Task Force website is www.familyinternet.info and the GBI website is http://gbi.georgia.gov/.

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Contact Information: 
John Bankhead - 404-270-8330