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Suspect in police pursuit also facing child molestation, exploitation charges

March 16, 2018--5:20 p.m.

Staff reports

47-year old Darren Allan Vincent who is accused of leading police on a chase that ended with a crash involving a Floyd County Police car is also charged in a multi-state child exploitation operation.

According to Floyd County Jail records, Vincent is now behind bars charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, speeding, reckless driving, aggressive driving, and driving on the wrong side of the road in connection with the Friday morning incident.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, Vincent was fleeing from Floyd County Police in his Toyota Camry and was traveling northbound in the southbound lane.

Another Floyd County officer was sitting stationary in the southbound lane, blocking traffic when the Camry slammed into the patrol vehicle.

The officer was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

He has since been released from the hospital.

According to a news release from the GBI, Vincent is one of the men charged in “Operation Southern Impact II.” 

Jail records state he is also charged with child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, and sexual exploitation of children.

A total of 76 people were arrested and 13 children were rescued or identified as victims during a mutually coordinated operation between eight southeastern states. The joint, proactive operation was coordinated by nine Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in those 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. The planning for Operation Southern Impact II began approximately 4 months ago and culminated in 2 days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, undercover operations, and arrests in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. A total of 222 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated in the operation.

In Georgia, 34 people were arrested during Operation Southern Impact II. Many of those arrests involved the possession and/or distribution of child pornography. While investigators regularly target the trading of all types of child pornography, in Operation Southern Impact II investigators targeted those seeking out and distributing the most violent child pornography involving infants and toddlers.

Six (6) of those arrested in Georgia traveled for the purpose of meeting and having sex with a minor. There was one arrest involving sextortion, an alarming trend involving subjects that obtain sexually explicit photos of minors and then threaten or blackmail the victim for additional obscene images or videos. Investigators found instances in which arrested subjects, some of whom had no prior criminal history, were working in positions of trust or jobs where interaction with children is common.

Eight (8) registered sex offenders were encountered in Georgia, during the course of this operation, four (4) of those offenders were charged with new crimes related to child pornography while the others were charged with various compliance violations. There was an additional subject who had an arrest for a prior sex offense but was not a registered sex offender. At least one foster parent with young children was arrested. There were also searches conducted where guns were found and illegal drugs were discovered.

In Georgia, a total of 38 search warrants were executed and 12 knock and talks were conducted during Operation Southern Impact II. Law enforcement officers conducting the searches were looking for evidence of possession and distribution of child pornography using the internet as well as evidence of other child exploitation related crimes. Over the course of the operation, 196 digital devices were examined and 474 digital media and devices were seized as evidence.  

Those arrested in Georgia were charged with crimes pursuant to O.C.G.A. 16-12-100.2, Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007. Additional charges are likely and other arrests will occur after analysis of seized digital devices.

Other local arrests included:

Wesley Bunker, 27, W/M, Rome, GA, retail store employee

Hershell Kyle Pirkle, W/M, age 29, Rome, GA, restaurant worker (arrested Thursday)

Jeffery Lance, 26, W/M, Silver, Creek, GA, school board employee/church youth director (arrested Wednesday)

Stephen McGatha, 49, W/M, Cedartown, GA, unknown (arrested Wednesday)

Shawn M. Kemp, 31, W/M, Cedartown, GA, postal employee

Aaron C. Helton, 36, W/M, Adairsville, GA, unknown

Bill E. Garner, 54, W/M, Resaca, GA, unemployed

Anthony L. Crane, 39, W/M, Cartersville, GA, construction worker

The operation was a coordinated effort between the following local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies in Georgia:

Alpharetta Police Department

Athens-Clarke County Police Department

Atlanta Police Department

Barrow County Sheriff’s Office

Bartow County Sheriff’s Office

Camden County Sheriff’s Office

Carroll County Sheriff’s Office

Cartersville Police Department

Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office

Clayton County Police Department

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office

Cobb County Police Department

Columbus Police Department

Coweta County Sheriff’s Office

Crawford County Sheriff’s Office

DeKalb County Police Department

Department of Community Supervision

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Duluth Police Department

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Floyd County Police Department

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office

Georgia Bureau of Investigation

GA Fusion Center – GBI-GISAC

Glynn County Police Department

Gordon County Sheriff’s Office

Gwinnett County Police Department

Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office

Hall County Sheriff’s Office

Henry County Police Department

Homeland Security Investigations

Houston County Sheriff’s Office

LaGrange Police Department

Laurens County Sheriff’s Office

Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Liberty County Sheriff’s Office

Lilburn Police Department

Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office

Marietta Police Department

Naval Criminal Investigative Service

Paulding County Sheriff’s Office

Peach County Sheriff’s Office

Polk County Police Department

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office

Roswell Police Department

Sandy Springs Police Department

St. Mary’s Police Department

United States Marshal’s Service

Walton County Sheriff’s Office

Washington County Sheriff’s Office