By Lyra Bordelon
Two Alderson residents were taken into custody after the execution of a federal search warrant hoping to break an interstate child pornography on October 16. According to an application for a federal search warrant, Jack Michael Smith and Kimberly Crookshanks were at the center of this investigation, which included the efforts of Homeland Security Investigation offices out of Portland, Oregon, and Charleston, as well as the local officers of the Alderson Police Department.
Author’s Note – this story contains graphic material
Although neither Alderson Mayor Travis Copenhaver or Lieutenant-in-charge of the Alderson Police Department J.R. Byer were able to comment on the specifics of the case due to jurisdictional control at the federal level, Copenhaver did explain his reaction to the town’s involvement in effecting the arrests during the November 12 Alderson Town Council meeting.
“I’m just going to tell you, y’all think the stuff that’s going on on the streets is bad?” Copenhaver said. “In the last month, our police department was instrumental in a federal raid. The street below my house. This was a child pornography raid. The 54 pages of the federal search warrant made me want to vomit. This spanned from Oregon to West Virginia. Little ole Sunset at 8:30 in the morning had nine different vehicles in front of the residence.”
The investigation began in 2019 after a report from the social media platform Tumblr reported posts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The search warrant includes references to alleged criminal activity conducted by Jack Michael Smith and Kimberly Crookshanks. Due to the graphic content of the details of the case submitted by the warrant application, the Mountain Messenger will omit many of the details of the crimes alleged.
The investigation listing the following alleged violations:
- The prohibited receiving or distributing of child pornography.
- Employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing or coercing any minor to engage in explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such explicit conduct.
- Knowingly possessing, accessing with intent to view, or conspiring to do so, any material that contains an image of child pronography.
A federal search warrant was executed on October 14 at Crookshanks and Smith’s residence, located at 259 Sunset Drive, Alderson. Smith’s phone was seized and additional evidence was discovered.
Copenhaver also noted that the property owner was not aware of what was happening and was horrified to learn of the allegations in the federal warrant application.
“This was an internet porn ring that was pretty complex,” Copenhaver said. “Not only was it complex, the stuff that went on in Oregon was enough to make any parent want to take somebody’s life over their child. The land owner vomited as I patted him on the back because he didn’t know this was going on. I would have never known this was going on.”
Copenhaver complimented the efforts of the Alderson Police Department, who worked with HSI Charleston in order to arrest the two individuals on October 16, and asked for the public’s continuing vigilance in keeping the community safe.
“I can tell you, as I have said a hundred times over, the vigilance of people who may pester the bejesus out of us, letting us know something is going on here or something is going on there, are the [ones looking out for the town]. Where there’s smoke there’s fire sometimes. That having been said, for every one of those people you see, they’re not out of the crosshairs. There’s a whole lot of stuff and a whole lot of people that you have no idea, just like this stuff. Technology is amazing, and Rusty did leg work for about three weeks before boots on the ground here. … So when you see something, say something.”