On June 16, 2020, the Gainesville Police Department’s Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, with the assistance of GPD SWAT, served a residential search warrant. The investigation and subsequent warrant were prompted after GPD received a total of 10 cyber tips dating back to October 2019. These tips indicated that an account holder was uploading child sexual abuse material through the social media platforms Snapchat and Discord.
During their investigation, GPD detectives seized digital evidence and learned that these files contained videos and images of pre-pubescent children being raped. Further investigation revealed that the account holder lived at the residence searched. After analyzing devices seized during the lawful search warrant, GPD Detective Montague filed 18 counts of Possession of Child Pornography and six counts of Distribution of Child Pornography against a 17-year old juvenile.
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The GPD ICAC Task Force notes that Internet service providers are currently in the process of developing and implementing end-to-end encryption across platforms. This change results in blocking law enforcement’s ability to obtain evidence of child exploitation that occurs through their platforms.