Twenty Men Face Federal Indictment For Attempted Online Enticement Of A Minor Following A Joint Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Operation In Columbus, Georgia
United States Attorney G. F. Peterman, III, announced that a Federal Grand Jury returned indictments in the Columbus Division of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia today charging twenty defendants with Attempted Online Enticement of a Minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). This charge carries a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence, and a maximum term of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both, up to a lifetime term of supervised release, and mandatory sex offender registration.
The federal indictments stem from arrests made over this past weekend during “Operation Hidden Guardian,” a proactive, online undercover investigation centered in Columbus, Georgia, which was coordinated by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, the Columbus Police Department, the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.
Along with those agencies who participated in the planning and coordination of the operation, twelve additional law enforcement agencies participated in “Operation Hidden Guardian” as members of the Georgia ICAC Task Force. These agencies were: Federal Bureau of Investigation – Columbus Resident Agency; the United States Secret Service; Athens-Clarke County Police Department; Floyd County Police Department; Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office; Hall County Sheriff’s Office; Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC); Glynn County Police Department; LaGrange Police Department; Marietta Police Department; Polk County Police Department; and the Tallapoosa Police Department.
The following individuals were indicted today:
Reginald Kiiani Crowell, 36, Pittsview, Alabama;
Jonathan David Jenkins, 23, Columbus, Georgia;
Brian A Corcoran, 42, Columbus, Georgia;
Ji Won Kim, 26, Atlanta, Georgia;
Derrick Lamart Smalls, 38, Phenix City, Alabama;
Robert Alan Moore, 31, Ledonia, Alabama;
Collis Dwight Eaton, 48, Midway, Alabama;
Kenneth Jordan, 29, Columbus, Georgia;
Edwin Nieves, 55, Columbus, Georgia;
Ke Song, 24, Auburn, Alabama;
Christopher McGowan, 32, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania;
Jarrod R. Long, 27, Columbus, Georgia;
Jimmy Cobb, 35, Columbus, Georgia;
Uthemes Taylor, 30, Columbus, Georgia;
Michael Andrew Everett, 22, Columbus, Georgia;
Harold Bates, 35, Selma, Alabama;
Dereck C. Weldon, 30, Columbus, Georgia;
Gary D. Whitfield, 28, Columbus, Georgia;
William Pruitt, 48, Franklin, North Carolina; and
Eric K. Menefee, 50, Opelika, Alabama.
An indictment is only an allegation of criminal conduct. Each person is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty in a court of law. Assistant United States Attorneys Danial Bennett, Crawford Seals, and Mel Hyde are prosecuting the cases for the Government.