HIRAM, Ga. — A Hiram man arrested as part of a multi-state child sexual exploitation sting admitted to police that he downloaded child porn, according to the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office. Multiple images and videos were found on several computers and other electronics seized from his home during an exam of the devices.

Deputies searched the home of 30-year-old Blake Lawrence Darnell on May 1 and found the computers and other electronics inside his home on Greystone Way. Darnell’s arrest was part of Operation Southern Impact III, which led to the recovery of 17 children and 82 arrests related to child sex exploitation across several states.

► RELATED: Operation Southern Impact III: 17 children recovered, 82 arrested in child sex sting

The operation, which started over four months ago, culminated in three days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, undercover operations, arrests and sex offender compliance verification visits in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

In Georgia, 31 people were arrested during the sting, which was dubbed "Operation Southern Impact III." Seven of those arrested had traveled to meeting a minor to have sex, the GBI said.

Investigators in Georgia "targeted those seeking out and distributing the most violent sexual abuse material involving infants and toddlers," according to the GBI news release.

On May 10, Darnell was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. One count was for possession of child pornography and the other was for the distribution of child porn, according to the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.

A total of 56 search warrants were executed and 41 knock and talks were conducted in Georgia during Operation Southern Impact III.

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During the operation, four registered sex offenders were encountered and arrested in Georgia on charges related to child pornography. One of the registered sex offenders arrested during Operation Southern Impact III was initially arrested by the GBI during a very similar operation in 2015.  

The GBI said 972 digital media and devices were seized as evidence and illegal drugs and firearms were also found.

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Those in custody and charged in Georgia as part of Operation Southern Impact III are:

James Barfield IV, 51, Atlanta, GA, home improvement store employee

Dillan M. Bell, 26, Allenhurst, GA, unemployed

Gerald Chamberlain, 34, Rome, GA, golf course maintenance worker

Carol Chellew, 56, Jefferson, GA, county employee

Doug Chellew, 56, Jefferson, GA, department store employee

Timothy Wayne Diggs, 39, Metter, GA, information technology specialist

Keith James Diver, 37, Norcross, GA, restaurant employee

Erick Noe Gonzalez, 26, Buford, GA, landscaper

Erik Gordon, 30, Morrow, GA, shipping company employee

Desmond Lemond Hasley, 27, Douglasville, GA, staffing company employee

Keidron Jayquan Isham, 23, Rome, GA, unemployed

Claude Martin Johnson IV, 21, Augusta, GA, unemployed

Andrew Kim, 30, Suwanee, GA, business owner

Jordan Logan, 33, Grovetown, GA, painter

Jonathan Craig Manning, 28, Rome, GA, railroad worker

Andrew J. Martz, 30, Tyrone, GA, student

Matthew James McDurmond, 26, Cedartown, unknown

Terry Menard, 61, Roswell, GA, multimedia designer

Daniel Joseph Mullinax, 35, Auburn, GA, unemployed

Justin Lee Myers, 22, Cleveland, GA, unknown

Andrew Benjamin Nelson, 42, Marietta, GA, construction worker

Michael David Quinn, 44, Roswell, GA, unknown

Matthew Steven Ramski, 37, Cumming, GA, graphic design artist

Arlen Lemuel Riddle, 46, Muscadine, AL, fireman

Malchijah Robinson, 40, Decatur, GA, unemployed

David Chris Sammons, 33, Eatonton, GA, factory worker

Omar S. Sanchez-Viera, 40, Jonesboro, GA, health supplement company employee

Chad Sitzwohl, 35, Dawsonville, GA, factory worker

Wille D. Slaughter, 33, Valdosta, GA, military veteran

Wan Yeung Tang, 45, Cumming, GA, dishwasher

Tyler Wooten, 21, Sharpsburg, GA, student

► MORE: 10 in Floyd County among dozens arrested in multi-state child sex sting

► FLASHBACK: Operation Southern Impact II

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