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Undercover operation leads to nine arrests in North Mississippi

Mississippi Attorney General

An undercover operation in North Mississippi, led by the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, has led to nine arrests with six related to the sexual exploitation or enticement of children. 

Attorney General Lynn Fitch explained that ‘Operation Blue Rain,’ in partnership with the Hernando Police Department, involved the use of online, undercover, and traditional investigative actions to locate individuals attempting to lure children to meet for sex or asking them to produce child pornography.

In addition to the six suspects arrested on child sex crime charges, three additional suspects were arrested on drug charges. 

  • Michael Murphy, 37, was arrested on allegations of accessing child exploitation material following a search warrant. Murphy was apprehended at his place of employment in Panola County.
  • Terry Eugene Johnson III, 23, was arrested and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child. Johnson made arrangements to meet the child for sexually explicit conduct at a location in DeSoto County.
  • Rick Russell, 21, was arrested in DeSoto County and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child to meet for sexually explicit conduct.
  • Johnny Allen Polnitz, 23, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in DeSoto County.
  • Tailya Tanee Smith, 20, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in DeSoto County.
  • Deaundra Donelle Wilson, 29, was arrested in DeSoto County and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child to meet for sexually explicit conduct.
  • Johnathan Deshaun Ford, 21, was arrested in DeSoto County and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child to meet for sexually explicit conduct.
  • Jermichael Parker, 26, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in DeSoto County.
  • Richard Carter, 62, who is already a registered sex offender, was arrested on charges originating from the State of Florida. Pending charges allege Carter sexually abused a minor in Mississippi and Florida. Mississippi investigators located Carter and collected evidence from Carter’s residence in Tishomingo County.

“Nothing motivates me more than protecting our children from predators who would rob them of their innocence,” Fitch said. “I would like to thank the law enforcement officers, investigators, and all of our federal, state, and local partners who assisted in Operation Blue Rain for their hard work and continued support in our fight to protect our children and our communities.”

The operation was coordinated by the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General and the Hernando Police Department with the assistance of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Panola County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tishomingo County Sheriff’s Office.

Fitch also announced the sentencing of three cases prosecuted by the Cyber Crime Division of the Attorney General’s Office.

  • Jeremy Wayne Boyle, 43, who was previously convicted of Child Exploitation in June 2003, pled guilty as a second and subsequent offender to one count of child exploitation and was sentenced on Thursday, April 22 by Forrest County Circuit Judge Robert Helfrich to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He will be subject to 5 years supervised probation upon release from incarceration and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, $250 to the Forrest County Public Defenders’ Fund, and all court costs.
  • David Stough, 50, an inmate of the Leake County Jail, pled guilty to one count of child exploitation and was sentenced on Friday, April 16 by Leake County Circuit Judge Caleb May to 15 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He will be subject to 5 years supervised probation upon release from incarceration and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, and all court costs.
  • Michael Justin Palmer, 41, pled guilty to four counts of child exploitation and was sentenced on Monday, April 5 by Pearl River County Circuit Judge Anthony Mozingo to 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He will be subject to 5 years supervised probation upon release from incarceration and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, and all court costs.

Boyle is already a registered sex offender, and Stough and Palmer will be required to register as sex offenders. All three will be required to serve their sentences day-for-day without the possibility of parole.

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