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State lists arrests in child porn crackdown

Two men from Rowan County are among 24 of what Attorney General Roy Cooper calls the state’s worst child exploiters who have been arrested as part of an ongoing push to use new technology to target top traffickers in images of child sexual abuse, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
The Post reported the arrest of David Lee Gillespie, 46, of 109 Wiley Ave, Salisbury, on Oct. 3. Gillespie was arrested on Sept. 30, and charged with six counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography). Gillespie was confined to the Rowan County Detention Center under a $25,000 secured bond. The SBI, Salisbury Police Department and Statesville Police Department were involved in the investigation.
Also from Rowan County is Billy Ray Woodle, 37, who was arrested on Oct. 6, in Rowan County. The arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by the SBI which identified Woodle as trading child pornography on the Internet. Woodle was arrested by the SBI on federal charges from a grand jury indictment obtained by the US Attorney, Middle District of N.C. Woodle was charged with one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.
Joining Cooper to make the announcement were U.S. Attorneys Anne Tompkins, Ripley Rand and Thomas Walker and State Bureau of Investigation Director Greg McLeod.
SBI agents working with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force made the arrests in recent weeks as part of Operation Spyglass. Investigators also served 27 search warrants to seize computers containing hundreds of thousands of illegal photos and videos of abused children, some as young as age 3. Several other investigations are under way, with more searches and arrests expected.
“These criminals are exploiting innocent children and contributing to their continuing misery and abuse,” Cooper said. “Crackdowns like this send a strong message that trading images of child sexual abuse is a crime and will not be tolerated in North Carolina.”
Operation Spyglass brought together dozens of law enforcement agencies from across the state and is expected to yield charges that will be prosecuted by federal prosecutors and local district attorneys. The SBI partners with 135 different law enforcement agencies as part of North Carolina’s ICAC Task Force and has trained hundreds of local officers to investigate online child predators.
Undercover investigators can identify suspects who download and share files that contain illegal child pornography, even when the suspects try to remain anonymous. While the trade in images of child abuse is a national and international problem, technology helps law enforcement in North Carolina focus their efforts on criminals operating in our state. Other cases start with tips reported through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cybertipline.
To verify the information gathered online or reported as tips, investigators examine records from Internet service providers and seize and search suspects’ computers and other electronic devices. When the evidence warrants, investigators can move quickly to make arrests, especially when the suspect has frequent access to children.
Studies have shown that people who view and share images of child sexual abuse are highly likely to commit abuse. One study of convicted offenders serving time at a federal prison in North Carolina for downloading child pornography found that a majority of the offenders admitted that they had physically molested children.
“Criminals use technology to spread these horrible images and prey on kids, and we’re using advanced technology to catch suspects across North Carolina,” Cooper said. “Law enforcement needs tough laws and the latest tools to stop the criminals.”
Others arrested as part of the crackdown include:
• Michael Joe Sanders, 31, was arrested on Oct. 11 and charged with five counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography). Sanders was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under a $300,000 bond. SBI, Gastonia Police Department and Hudson Police Department.
• Eddie Ray Willard, 59, was arrested on Oct. 11 and charged with 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography). Willard was confined in the Forsyth County Jail on $250,000 bond. SBI and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department.
• Chad Thomas Evans, 40, was arrested on Oct. 17 and charged with nine counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Evans was confined to Robeson County Jail on a $55,000 secured bond. Evans is captain with the Lumberton Fire Department. SBI, Homeland Security Investigations and the Lumberton Police Department.
• Ivey Floyd Cook, 48, was arrested on Oct. 18 and charged with three counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Cook was confined to the New Hanover County Jail under a $50,000 secured bond. FBI, SBI, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department and the Wilmington Police Department.
• Larry Wayne Samuels was arrested on Oct. 12 and charged with 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography). Samuels was confined to the Guilford County Jail on a $100,000 secured bond. SBI and Guilford County Sheriff’s Department.
• Paul Stephen Pearsall was arrested on Oct. 13 and charged with three counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Pearsall was confined to the Cumberland County Jail under a $25,000 secured bond. Pearsall is a teacher with the Sampson County School system. SBI and Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department.
• Jerry Dale Plumley, 27, was arrested on Oct. 4 and charged with six counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography). Plumley was confined to the McDowell County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond. SBI and McDowell County Sheriff’s Department.
• Michael Anthony Coward, 26, was arrested on Oct. 18 and charged with 10 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Coward was confined to the Pitt County Jail under a $1 million secured bond. SBI and Pitt County Sheriff’s Department.
• Joshua Wayne Pendleton, 22, was arrested on Oct.11 and charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, dissemination of obscene material to a minor and two counts of indecent liberties with a minor. Pendleton was confined to the Wilson County Detention Center under a $35,000 secured bond. SBI, Wilson Police Department and the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Department.
• Kyle Martin Inch, 26, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged with 11 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Inch was confined at the Wake County Detention Center. Cary Police Department.
• John David Herron, 30, was arrested on June 29 and charged with 20 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Herron was confined at the Wake County Detention Center. Cary Police Department.
• Jean Paul Berard, 31, was arrested on Oct. 12 and charged with four counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Berard was confined at the Wake County Detention Center. Cary Police Department.
• Reginald Macon Peters Jr., 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury, in the WDNC, on Oct. 18 for possession of child pornography. The indictment was the result of a joint investigation by the SBI, US Postal Inspection Service, Union County Sheriff’s Department and NC Probation officers.
• Daniel Joseph Nilsson, 32, was arrested on Aug. 17 and charged with six counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). Nilsson is a USMC Captain. Nilsson was placed in the Pender County Jail under a $300,000 secured bond. SBI, FBI, Wilmington Police Department and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.
• Edward Joseph O’Brien, 38, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged with one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography). O’Brien was confined at the Wake County Detention Center. SBI, Homeland Security Investigations and Holly Springs Police Department.
• Mark Aspden, 42, was arrested on Sept. 27 by Lancashire, England law enforcement and charged with inciting a child under sixteen to engage in sexual activity. The arrest was the result of an SBI investigation in Catawba County that was initiated from a NCMEC Cybertip. Aspden had engaged in an online sexual relationship with the minor for approximately four years.
• Charles Douglas McKinnon was arrested on Sept. 2 by members of the South Carolina ICAC Task Force following a joint investigation with the NC ICAC Task Force. The investigation was initiated by the SBI upon receipt of a NCMEC Cybertip. McKinnon was charged with 32 counts of dissemination of harmful materials to a minor and held on a $50,000 secured bond.
• Bruce Wayne Lorette, 32, was arrested by the SBI on Oct. 20 and charged with 10 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography) and confined in the Brunswick County Detention Center under a $10,000 bond. FBI Cybercrimes Taskforce, Wilmington, and Leland Police.
• George Maddison Venters, 50, was arrested last week by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Department and charged with 10 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography) and confined to the Pitt County Detention Center under a $1 million secured bond. Pitt County Sheriff’s Department and the SBI.
• William Dale Warren, 70, was arrested by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Oct. 21 and charged with one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (possession of child pornography) and confined to the Mecklenburg County Detention Center under a $5000.00 secured bond. SBI and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
• William Johnson Blankinship was arrested by the SBI Oct. 21 and charged with 10 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (distribution of child pornography) and confined to the Wake County Detention Center under $20,000 secured bond. SBI and Raleigh Police Department.
• Timothy Carl Fulford, 41, was arrested and charged with on Oct. 17 with three counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Fulford was held on a $10,000 secured bond. SBI, Cary Police Department, Wilmington FBI Cyber Crime Unit and Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office.

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