Umatilla Man Bonds Out On Child Pornography Charges

UMATILLA, Florida—A Umatilla man bonded out of jail just a day after Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents arrested him at his Umatilla home for four counts of possession of child pornography Thursday.

Working on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) FDLE began investigating two images of child pornography that were reportedly found in a DropBox account in July.

User [email protected] uploaded two sexually explicit images of two little girls who appear to be 6 years old and 10 years old with adult men, on July 18, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Through its investigation, FDLE found that the email address belonged to Lewis Blanton III, of West Fifth Avenue in unincorporated Umatilla. FDLE obtained a search warrant for the DropBox account and found that it contained multiple images of Blanton and his girlfriend, in addition to personal information, including copies of Blanton’s driver license, documents for his military disability and photos of his residence, according to the affidavit. Two more exploitative images were also found; one that depicted girls believed to 6 years old and a teenager, and the second depicting two girls, believed to be 12 and 14.

Several of Lewis Blanton’s tattoos. PHOTO: Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Agents also found evidence Blanton, 57, used cryptocurrency to purchase a link to a child pornography site on an anonymous browser. “…Your affiant knows through training an experience that child pornography collectors and those with an interest in child sex abuse material take significant measures to conceal their identities and IP addresses in order to avoid detection from law enforcement. The contents of the DropBox account give your affiant probable cause to believe that Lewis Blanton has dominion and control over the account containing child pornography and that he uses an Onion Router (TOR) and various VPNs to conceal his identity and activity,” the arresting agent stated in the affidavit.

Blanton was taken into custody at his home and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he was released on $40,000 bond. 

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