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Child porn investigation leads to drug arrest
Local man only faces drug charges; GBI issues 98 child porn arrest warrants
king william allen lee
William Allen Lee King

    A man was arrested for growing marijuana after state agents investigating reported child pornography offenses found pot plants in a Harvey Drive home, police said.
    As part of a multijurisdictional investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents searched the home Wednesday, Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said.
    When agents discovered the plants, they called the Statesboro Police Department Crime Suppression Unit, he said.
    Statesboro police Detective Kyle Briley arrived and processed the scene, “recovering four marijuana plants as well as a small amount of marijuana,” Turner said. William Allen Lee King, 25, of Harvey Drive, was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana and marijuana possession. He is currently being held at the Bulloch County Jail and is awaiting further court action.
    Statesboro GBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Cathy Sapp confirmed Thursday that agents did execute a search warrant at a Bulloch County home for reported child pornography offenses and that marijuana was found in the home, but she could not verify at the time whether that was King’s arrest or a separate case.
    King was not charged with child pornography or related offenses, only drug charges, and it was not immediately clear whether agents in fact found any child pornography materials in the home where he lives.
     The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday that warrants have been issued for 98 people suspected of distributing child pornography over the Internet.
    GBI spokesman John Bankhead said Wednesday that the three-month investigation involved 47 federal, state, and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.
    One of those arrested was retired Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Maj. Douglas Burkhalter, 70, who was held on $10,000 bond after being arrested on a charge of computer child exploitation. He was released from the Chatham County jail Thursday.
    The Savannah Morning News reports that Burkhalter was arrested for material authorities found at his home Wednesday. Burkhalter was one of 98 people authorities identified following a three month investigation titled, “Operation Guarding Innocence.”
    Bankhead said the investigation was an effort of the GBI’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to respond to increasing numbers of children and teens using the Internet, an increase in the availability of child pornography, and an upswing in the number of predators trolling the Internet for victims.
    A call to Burkhalter’s attorney was not immediately returned.
    Bankhead said the investigation, titled “Operation Guarding Innocence,” was the largest of its kind to be executed in Georgia. Since it was established in 2002, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has made 976 arrests in Georgia.
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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