An Elizabethton man was among a group of people arrested during an operation targeting sex trafficking during Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
The arrests included 26 sex traffickers and 34 individuals attempting to engage in sexual acts with minors, according to the FBI Atlanta field office. Nine children were recovered from sex trafficking; the youngest was 14 years old. Nine human trafficking victims were also identified.
The goal of the months-long investigation called “Operation Interception” was “to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line, have sexually explicit conversations, and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex,” according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation release.
Richard Jason Hyder, 41, of Elizabethton was arrested on a felony charge of use of a computer service to seduce, solicit, lure or entice a child to commit an illegal act. The GBI said he's an asphalt grinding contractor.
The operation was conducted by the Violent Crimes against Children/Human Trafficking Program and Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation (MATCH) Task Force, which included the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia, the GBI and Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice.
Local police agencies involved included Atlanta, Alpharetta, Clayton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Gwinnett County, Marietta and Smyrna police departments.
You can report missing children or child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-843-5678 (THE-LOST) or through their CyberTipLine.