Florida man Carl Stephen Smith Jr. pleads guilty to distributing videos of young sexually abused children online.
JACKSONVILLE, FL (STL.News) A Northeast Florida Inter-Agency Child Exploitation and Person Trafficking Task Force (NEFL INTERCEPT) investigation has led to a Florida man’s guilty plea for distributing child sexual abuse material using the internet.
Carl Stephen Smith Jr., 33, of Green Cove Springs, faces a minimum mandatory penalty of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison.
Smith has remained in custody since his arrest on January 31, 2023.
According to court documents, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a CyberTipline report in July 2022 from an online social media app that indicated a user named “daddysir142” had uploaded three child sexual abuse videos. Authorities traced the IP address used to upload these materials to an internet service provider in Green Cove Springs. A Clay County Sheriff’s Office investigation revealed numerous other CyberTipline reports submitted by online social media apps for IP addresses linked to Smith and his residence.
On January 31, 2023, special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Jacksonville and other law enforcement personnel executed a federal search warrant at Carl Stephen Smith Jr.’s residence. During an interview with law enforcement, Smith admitted that he communicated with minors on social media and that he used social media apps to search for child sexual abuse material. HSI special agents seized a cellphone belonging to Smith, and a forensic review of the device revealed that it contained at least 22 videos and 37 photos depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The device also contained online conversations between Smith and other users in which Smith distributed materials depicting the sexual abuse of young children.
This case was investigated by the NEFL INTERCEPT Task Force, which includes HSI, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney D. Rodney Brown in the Middle District of Florida. This task force is a unique public-private partnership where nonprofit organizations provide financial, technical, and other resources to law enforcement task forces dedicated to the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation.
It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue child victims.