Charles Co sheriff's office says Digital Crime Lab has accelerated their ability to stop predators

CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) -- Solving crimes in Charles County has been enhanced.

According to the sheriff's office, the new Digital Crime Lab that came online last summer is instrumental for expediting investigations into crimes involving cell phones, computers, and tablet devices.

Sheriff Troy Berry says that in the past 10 months, his detectives have examined nearly 500 devices gathering evidence for numerous criminal investigations - including investigations into crimes against children.

In the past, the sheriff's office has outsourced its digital forensic work to the Maryland State Police.

"This unit is critical for our detectives and also for the well-being of this community because now the Charles County Sheriff's Office has the ability to conduct immediate examinations of electronic devices recovered as a result of criminal activity," Berry said.

The sheriff said that in the case of convicted child sex offender Carlos Bell, it took the state six months to examine his cell phones.

Berry said that if Charles County investigators had their own digital forensics lab, they could have prevented the sexual abuse of some of Bells' 42 victims.