ECSO's Operation Broken Candy nets 5 arrests - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ECSO's Operation Broken Candy nets 5 arrests

Aaron Kreh (Source: ECSO) Aaron Kreh (Source: ECSO)
Merle Singletary (Source: ECSO) Merle Singletary (Source: ECSO)
David May (Source: ECSO) David May (Source: ECSO)
Arterrius Smith (Source: ECSO) Arterrius Smith (Source: ECSO)
Richard Krohn (Source: ECSO) Richard Krohn (Source: ECSO)

The Effingham County Sheriff's Office wrapped up a four month long investigation, Operation Broken Candy, on Thursday. The investigation targeted people attempting to meet children for sex and those downloading and sharing child pornography.

The ECSO Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested five individuals during the operation. The investigation began in May and ran the entire length of the summer while children were on summer break.

Two of the five offenders traveled to Effingham County with the intent of meeting a child for sex. Aaron Kreh, 36, of Savannah was arrested on June 30 after investigators met him in Effingham County where he traveled to meet a child.

"On July 4th, 2014, Merle Singletary, 42, of North Charleston South Carolina traveled to a location in Effingham County where he also thought he was meeting a small child for sex but instead was greeted by Effingham Sheriff's Investigators, "Sheriff's spokesman David Ehsanipoor said. "During this investigation, Singletary expressed the desire to have sex with small children and also commit the crime of incest." 

David May, 59, of Bloomingdale, Arterrius Smith, 31, of Statesboro and Richard Krohn, 40, or Guyton were all arrested at their homes after search warrants were served by investigators. All three were charged with sexual exploitation of children.

"When we target those who share child pornography online, we routinely uncover offenders who are sexually abusing children or stalking them," Ehsanipoor said. "That is why these operations are so critical. Viewing these vile images is a serious crime in itself, because it motivates those who sexually exploit children to create child pornography and it re-victimizes the children involved. It can also be a strong indicator that we are dealing with a child predator."

"We don't go out after them, they solicit us, they start off the conversation and unfortunately a lot of times. More times then none the conversation turns into what they want to do. You know they get very graphic and very detailed as what they want to do with small children," stated Ehsanipor.

The ECSO also participated in 12 other arrests, assisting other agencies, including the FBI and the GBI.

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