COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced that 82 people were arrested, and 17 children were rescued of identified in a joint operation to crackdown on child exploitation.
The operation called “Operation Southern Impact III,” was coordinated by 10 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in eight southeastern states, including South Carolina and North Carolina. Authorities focused on persons who possess and distribute child pornography and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet.
The planning for the operation began four months ago but culminated in three days of investigative actions which included search warrant executions and undercover operations.
Six people from South Carolina were arrested during the Operation Southern Impact III.
One of those was 23-year-old Antwon Nasir McCoy from Myrtle Beach. WMBF News first reported on McCoy’s arrest on Tuesday.
He’s accused of convincing underage girls to send him “sexually illicit images and video” through social media. He faces 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the second-degree.
James Everette Nesbitt, 42, of Florence, was also arrested during the operation. He was taken into custody on Wednesday. He is charged with 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
The people arrested in the entire operation range in age from 20 to 70.
The AG’s office said some of their occupations included non-profit employee, small business owner, a daycare administrator, youth group leader and a former high school band director.
Authorities said 1,613 digital devices were seized during the searches.
Additional charges may be filed in the cases.
The six arrested in South Carolina will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.