The Division of Drug and Crime Control announced the arrest of three individuals after a two-day child exploitation enforcement operation. The operation was conducted in Pulaski County, by members of the Division of Drug and Crime Control's Digital Forensics Investigative Unit. The Patrol was assisted by the Missouri State Technical Assistance Team (STAT), Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, St. Robert Police Department, South Central Missouri Computer Crimes Task Force, Southeast Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

On Wednesday March 21, investigators executed a search warrant at the residence of Maumau Benner, 19, on Shara Drive, in St. Robert, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 

 

As a result of their search, investigators located computer equipment used in the commission of the crime. Benner was arrested and transported to the Pulaski County Jail. He has been formally charged by the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney with possession of child pornography. Benner’s bond was set at $500,000.00, according to the MSHP.

 

On Wednesday March 21, investigators executed a search warrant at the residence of Bryan Austin Prather, 20, on Kale Court, St. Robert, Missouri. As a result of their search, investigators located computer equipment used in the commission of the crime. Prather was arrested and transported to the Pulaski County Jail. He has been formally charged by the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney with possession of child pornography. Prather’s bond was set at $500,000.00.

 

On Thursday, March 22, investigators executed a search warrant at the residence of William Wethington, 43, on Cortez Road, in Dixon, Missouri. As a result of their search, investigators located computer equipment used in the commission of the crime. Wethington was arrested and transported to the Pulaski County Jail. He has been formally charged by the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney with possession and promoting child pornography. Wethington’s bond was set at $1,000,000.00.

 

The Division of Drug and Crime Control encourages Internet users to report promptly to the Patrol or local law enforcement anyone who attempts to engage in unwanted, inappropriate, or sexualized communications with children. The Digital Forensics Investigative Unit is partially funded by the Missouri Department of Public Safety State Cyber Crime Grant and the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

 

The above charges are mere accusations and are not evidence of guilt, according to the MSHP. Evidence in support of these charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.