Blake Lawrence Darnell
Photo: Paulding County Sheriff’s Office
Photo: Paulding County Sheriff’s Office

Paulding man arrested as part of multistate child exploitation sting

Another Georgia man has been charged in a multistate child exploitation sweep that netted more than 82 arrests.

The arrest of Blake Lawrence Darnell on Friday is in addition to the 31 previously reported in Georgia during Operation Southern Impact III, a four-month sting that involved dozens of law enforcement agencies in metro Atlanta and other parts of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and the Carolinas. 

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Paulding County authorities executed a search warrant at Darnell’s Hiram home on May 1 as part of the operation. They seized several computers and other electronic devices, Paulding County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ashley Henson said.

“During a subsequent exam of his computer and other electronic devices, multiple images and videos of known and suspected child pornography were discovered,” he said in a news release. 

Darnell, 30, allegedly admitted to detectives he had downloaded child pornography. He was arrested Friday on two counts of sexual exploitation of children. One count deals with the possession of child porn, and the other deals with the distribution of it, Henson said. 

He was booked into the Paulding County jail and later released.

The search warrant at Darnell’s home was one of 56 executed across the state of Georgia during the operation, according to the GBI. In announcing the initial 82 arrests, the GBI said additional charges and other arrests were likely once all seized electronic devices were analyzed.

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