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Columbia County Fire Lieutenant Found Growing Weed During Child Porn Probe

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A 15-year veteran of the Columbia County Fire Rescue was caught growing weed when sheriff’s officials went to his Grovetown home this week to investigate child porn allegations.

His live-in girlfriend was also charged in the marijuana-growing operation and possession of weapons.

Lt. Matthew Brisendine, 36, was suspected of downloading child pornography through a cybertip, and a warrant says at least one of the videos depicted minors having sex with a canine.

“When we did the search warrant for child porn, that’s when we discovered the drugs and drug paraphernalia,” sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris said. “No indication they were dealing. It seemed more for personal use.”

His live-in girlfriend, Alexis Azevedo, 31, was also connected to the marijuana and weapons found at the house, but not the child pornography, Maj. Morris said.

Brisendine was terminated on Wednesday from the Fire Rescue, according to Cassidy Harris, public relations manager for Columbia County.

Authorities seized 363 grams of marijuana and two grams of THC Vape as well glass jars, a trim bin, a digital thermometer, a mini hygrometer and a hydroponic rock wool. In addition, they found several weapons, including a three firearms, ammunition and several firearm accessories, a sheriff’s report says.

The child porn investigation began on Sept. 1 when investigators received two cybertips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children involving the possession or distribution of child pornography. The information was turned over to the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children task force with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

That led to Wednesday’s search at the fire official’s home. Brisendine was charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children, three drug offenses and three counts of weapon possession. Azevedo was charged with the drug and weapons offenses. Both remained in the Columbia County Detention Center on Friday without bond.

A report says the suspect’s girlfriend worked as a nursing assistant with Piedmont McDuffie.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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