82 arrests, including 6 in SC, made in multi-state child exploitation operation

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – 82 arrests, including six in South Carolina, were made in a multi-state child exploitation operation.

“A total of 82 people were arrested, and 17 children were rescued or identified as victims during a mutually coordinated operation between eight (8) southeastern states,” a press release from SC Attorney General Alan Wilson said.

The operation, called Operation Southern Impact III, was coordinated by ten Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in eight states, and “focused on persons who possess and distribute child pornography and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet.”

Those arrested were between the ages of 20 and 70, according to the release. “Some of their occupations included non-profit employee, small business owner, store clerk, mechanic, daycare administrator, youth group leader, former high school band director, freelance photographer, construction worker and painter.”

“During the operation, 134 search warrants were executed, and 215 knock and talks were conducted in those eight (8) states. During those search warrants and knock and talks, 861 digital devices were previewed, and 1,613 digital devices were seized.  Of those devices seized 203 were mobile phones,” the release also said. “Additional charges may be filed in the cases above pending the results of forensic examinations and all six cases will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.”

Those charged in SC as part of the operation include:

  • James Everette Nesbitt, 42, of Florence
  • Antwon Nasir McCoy, 23, of Myrtle Beach
  • Robert Hayes, 23, of Columbia
  • Nathaniel Blake Arguedas, 20, of Clover
  • Tyler Eugene Canterbury, 24, of Hot Springs, VA
  • Jeffrey Alan Scofield, 32, of North Charleston

Nesbitt’s charges include 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, 3rd, according to the release. McCoy’s charges include 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, 2nd. 

ICAC investigators working with the following agencies “executed search warrants during this statewide investigative effort”:

  • Horry County Sheriff’s Office
  • S.C. Attorney General’s Office
  • Charleston Police Department
  • Pickens County Sheriff’s Office
  • Richland County Sheriff’s Office
  • York County Sheriff’s Office

ICAC Task Force members from the following agencies “assisted with the investigations and arrests”:

  • Florence County Sheriff’s Office
  • Charleston County Sheriff’s Office
  • Covington (VA) Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • North Charleston Police Department
  • U.S. Marshals Service
  • U.S. Secret Service

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