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A Cordova woman and a Georgia man pleaded guilty on July 8 to one count each of producing child pornography.

S.C. 17th in number of human trafficking cases

Carrie Marie Minton, 25, of Stamp Lane, Cordova, and Charles Brandon Powell, 33, of Hephzibah, Georgia, entered their pleas in federal court.

A judge will sentence them at a later date.

Cordova woman accused of creating, distributing child porn

Their plea agreements stipulate that they will be “subject to a mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment.” The maximum sentence they could face is 30 years, plus a minimum of a 5-year supervised release, a $250,000 fine, court-ordered restitution and forfeiture of assets.

There is no parole in the federal system.

According to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, “The facts of this case are sickening and disturbing, revealing a cesspool of cooperative depravity,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

“Quick action from our federal and state law enforcement partners halted this scheme in the early stages, thankfully sparing further exploitation of two innocent children,” Christine said.

Around June 20, 2018, investigators received a CyberTipline reoprt from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that led them to Powell and Minton.

Investigators alleged Powell possessed child pornography and Minton created and distributed child pornography.

According to warrants against Minton, she:

  • Allegedly photographed a minor with a visual representation depicting the minor engaged in sexual activity or appearing in a state of sexually explicit nudity. Minton admitted to taking the photograph of the child, who was 5 months old at the time. It was discovered via Facebook.
  • Allegedly distributed materials containing visual representation of a minor engaged in a sexual activity or appearing in a state of sexually explicit nudity.
  • Allegedly transported a minor across the state with the intent that the minor engage in sexual activity or appear in a state of sexually explicit nudity. The child was 9 years old at the time of the incident. The images were discovered on Facebook.
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According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney General’s office, “As described in court documents and testimony, Powell and Minton, identified as a couple, held online discussions to plan a sexual encounter with an 8-year-old girl whom Minton planned to bring to Powell’s Hephzibah home from Neeses, S.C.

"After Minton sent an explicit photo of another juvenile, a 5-month-old girl, to Powell, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted authorities, who intervened as the plot was in motion. Powell and Minton were taken into custody without either of the children subjected to further harm.”  

“This case is an excellent example of how partnerships between the FBI and our state and local law enforcement agencies are essential in protecting our citizens and in particular, children, our most vulnerable citizens,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the Atlanta FBI. “Keeping our children safe is a top priority for this office and I thank law enforcement for their quick work on this matter.”

After accepting pleas from Powell and Minton, U.S. District Chief Judge J. Randal Hall of the Southern District of Georgia remanded them to federal custody until a sentencing hearing is held. Both are in the Jefferson County Jail.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the S.C. Office of the Attorney General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Lyons is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 16 years.

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