A 23-year-old Seabrook man faces felony child pornography charges after sending explicit images to undercover investigators from the S.C. Attorney General's Office and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, authorities say.
Kenneth Xavier Hernandez was charged Thursday with 38 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center log. Hernandez was being held Friday with bond set at $760,000, the jail log said.
Hernandez was arrested as part of a joint investigation between S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and NCIS, according to Wilson's office.
Adam Piper, a Wilson spokesman, said the Attorney General's Office and NCIS were investigating Hernandez for possessing and transmitting "files depicting minors engaged in graphic sexual activities."
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"An investigator from the Attorney General's Office and a special agent from NCIS had simultaneous investigations (into) Mr. Hernandez, and arrest warrants allege that Hernandez sent several files to the AG's office special investigator as well as the NCIS special agent," Piper said.
Piper said NCIS routinely participates in such investigations, and Hernandez is not an active-duty Marine or sailor or a civilian employee at any of the area's three military bases.
"Both the Attorney General's Office and NCIS conduct undercover investigations aimed at combating the dissemination of child pornography," Piper said. "He is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the military."
If convicted, Hernandez faces up to 10 years in prison on each count of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to state law.
The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office, the news release said.