GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A 33-year-old Cherryville man was arrested after a Homeland Security investigation found more than 500 images and videos of child pornography, according to Gaston County police.
Police have charged Phillip Michael Costin with seven felony counts of 2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor and seven felony counts of 3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
The charges Costin are facing were brought on a joint investigation by Gaston County Police and Homeland Security Investigations.
In 2020 Homeland Security Investigations initiated an investigation of multiple individuals in multiple states involving child pornography being shared over the dark web. Costin was identified as one of the individuals involved by officials through the investigation.
The Gaston County Police Department along with Homeland Security agents seized electronic devices from Costin and which led to the discovery of over 500 images and videos containing child pornography.
Costin is currently incarcerated in the Gaston County Jail, being held on a $500,000 secured bond.
The investigation continues and anyone with information is asked to contact Det. R.L. Smith at 704-866-3320 or Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000.