FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — State investigators arrested a high-ranking Forsyth County sheriff’s deputy Nov. 10 after agents raided his Cherokee County home and found sexual pictures of underage children.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations charged Chief Deputy Grady Sanford with two counts of distribution of child pornography, the state agency said in a statement.

The GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes unit began investigating Sanford, 56, on Nov. 6 after National Center of Missing and Exploited Children red-flagged his internet activity. The advocacy organization sent GBI investigators a report that the explicit photos had been uploaded from an IP address at Sanford’s home in Canton.

Investigators searched the home about 7:40 a.m. of Nov. 10 and arrested Sanford. He was booked into the Cherokee County Jail.

Following the arrest, Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman fired the chief deputy.

“To say this is a shock is a gross understatement,” Freeman said in a statement. “We intentionally set our standards high at Forsyth County. Regardless of rank, every employee must meet those moral and legal standards. There is no room for this type of crime in our state, and certainly not in the law enforcement profession. Our trust and that of our community has been betrayed. I’ve made a commitment to be transparent, even when one of our own employees does wrong. No one is exempt and no one is above the law.”

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