A child pornography investigation in Canada led to the arrest of a suspect in Charlotte County on Tuesday. The suspect, Nathan Potter (DOB 10/21/82), was arrested at a Punta Gorda motel while in the process of packing his belongings into a U-Haul truck. Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Detective Don Woelke, assigned to the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force in Fort Myers, worked with the Sheriff’s Office Warrants Unit to locate and apprehend Potter before he left the area.
The investigation into Potter’s online activities began in May, when Canadian authorities met with a child’s parents regarding the child’s online activity. The parents had discovered their child was exchanging messages with an unknown subject online and was sending nude photos of herself through the online applications Sketch and Discord. Once the unknown subject (later identified as Potter) coerced the juvenile into sharing a nude photo, the subject (Potter) extorted additional photos by threatening to share the other photos online.
Detective Woelke was contacted by Canadian authorities in September after they identified Nathan Potter through their investigation. Detective Woelke began reviewing their investigation and began to work with the State Attorney’s Office on applicable charges. On October 30, Detective Woelke was contacted by Georgia authorities who advised they held felony warrants for Nathan Potter for activity similar to the complaint in Canada.
Members of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Division located Nathan Potter at the Flamingo Motel in Punta Gorda. Potter was observed to be moving boxes from his room into a U-Haul moving van. Nathan Potter was arrested on the felony warrants from Georgia, at which time a search warrant for his property was executed on both the hotel room and the U-Haul.
Nathan Potter provided a statement to the detectives regarding his online activity. Based on the evidence gathered in the search warrants and his statement, Potter will face local charges prior to his extradition for his crimes in Georgia. He is charged with Possessing Photographs of Sexual Performance by a Child and Compiling Computer Pornography Involving a Minor. Both charges are third degree felonies.
“The quick apprehension of this suspect reflects the commitment and teamwork of the Sheriff’s Office, the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, and the State Attorney’s Office,” stated Sheriff Bill Prummell. “We are committed to catching these offenders and protecting our youth”.
Nathan Potter is currently in custody at the Charlotte County Jail with no bond.