A 25-year-old Terrell man was sentenced on July 30 to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges of possessing with intent to promote child pornography.

Silas Austin Franks was arrested in December 2019 on a warrant issued by 7th State District Court Judge Kerry Russell of Smith County.

An investigation was launched Oct. 8, 2019, after the Smith County Sheriff's Office received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

"The information provided by NCMEC contained numerous photos of child pornography depicting victims of a very young age,” a news release stated.

Investigators obtained subpoenas for social media sites, cell phone and Internet service providers. Franks was identified based on that information, according to the news release.

Investigators alleged that Franks utilized an IP address of the Red Springs Fire Department to receive several thousand photos depicting pornographic images of young children.

Franks was employed by the Smith County Emergency Services District 2. He was a volunteer firefighter with the Ables Springs Volunteer Fire Department in Kaufman County.

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