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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 8, 2022

One sentenced, one indicted on separate child exploitation charges

Columbia County residents charged with possession of child pornography

AUGUSTA, GA:  A Columbia County, Ga., man has been sentenced to federal prison for possession of child pornography, while a second man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a separate case.

Christopher Dale Smith, 20, of Martinez, Ga., was sentenced to 87 months in prison after pleading guilty to Possession of Child Pornography, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall also ordered Smith to pay $3,000 in restitution, and to serve 15 years of supervised release and register as a sex offender after completion of his prison term.

There is no parole in the federal system.

“Online images of child pornography perpetually victimize our most vulnerable citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Identifying those who exploit children and holding them accountable brings a measure of justice for these victims.”

The investigation of Smith began in January 2021 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a cyber tip that identified images of child pornography. Agents from the FBI then identified Smith and discovered dozens of images and videos of child exploitation on devices in his possession.

“The facts of this case are upsetting, and unfortunately all too common,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Smith’s sentence demonstrates the determination of the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office to find those who prey on innocent children in our communities and bring them to justice.” 

In an unrelated case, Mark Christopher Greene, 46, of Appling, Ga., has been indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury for possession of child pornography. That investigation, also involving NCMEC, the FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, led to Greene’s indictment. The charge carries a statutory penalty upon conviction of up to 20 years in federal prison, along with substantial financial penalties and a period of supervised release after any prison sentence.

Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/.

The cases are being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremiah L. Johnson and Assistant U.S. Attorney and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator Tara M. Lyons.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Barry L. Paschal, Public Affairs Officer: 912-652-4422
Press Release Number: 
20-22
Updated February 8, 2022