An 18-year-old arrested in Northport Thursday for possession of child pornography was involved in an anonymous picture and video distribution ring, according to court documents filed Friday afternoon.

The suspect, Garrett Hunter Allen, was arrested at a home on Northwind Drive Thursday afternoon and charged with 5 counts of possession of obscene material depicting someone younger than 17.

Allen's own young age led some to wonder if the obscene material investigators found on his phone could be innocently explained, perhaps as images sent to him by a younger girlfriend or schoolmate.

Depositions filed Friday tell a grimmer story.

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According to the court documents, Allen was using a free messaging app to connect, chat and share videos with other consumers of child pornography.

"Mr. Allen confessed to being a part of group chats in [the app] where unknown people would send him videos of child pornography and tell him to send it to whoever he thought might be interested in it," investigators said in the deposition. "He stated that he would download the videos onto his phone and then send the video out to other people that he had befriended on [the app] that he thought would like it."

The one picture and four videos found on Allen's phone Thursday allegedly depicted very young children subjected to sexually explicit situations.

Agents of the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force seized two phones and a tablet from Allen and will conduct full forensic exams on all three devices at the University of Alabama's Joint Electronic Crimes Task Force. Additional charges may be filed against Allen based on the results of those searches.

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