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18-year-old arrested on child pornography charges

Press release from Gainesville Police Department

Today the Gainesville Police Department Internet Crimes against Children division, with the assistance of GPD SWAT, served a residential search warrant at 209 SE 26th Terr. This investigation was prompted after GPD received several tips this past February from Facebook, that an Instagram account holder was uploading child sexual abuse material through their platform. In a subsequent investigation, detectives obtained lawful access to the account information and files, which were shared. The files shared were determined to be videos and images of pre-pubescent children being raped. Further investigation revealed that the account holder lives at the residence searched today and has been identified as Aramis Sheppard, an 18-year-old male. Sheppard was arrested, charged with 12 counts of Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography, and booked into the Alachua County Jail. GPD Detectives are actively following up on all videos and images to identify the victims and provide services. At this point in the investigation, it does not appear the victims are from the Gainesville area.

It should be noted that Facebook has been in the process of developing and implementing end-to-end encryption across all of its platforms. This change could result in blocking law enforcement’s ability to obtain evidence of child exploitation that is occurring in Facebook communications. In 2018, Facebook made 16.8 million reports of child sexual exploitation and abuse content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 12 million of which it is estimated would be lost if the company implements end-to-end encryption.

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