Joaquin man arrested on multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit capital murder, sex crimes

Suspect held in Shelby County Jail without bond

A Joaquin man has been arrested and jailed without bond on multiple charges, including alleged sex crimes, conspiracy to commit capital murder and more, according to reports from Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires.

Alexander N. Barter, 21, of Joaquin, was arrested by the FBI on Friday, Oct. 19, and charged with Criminal Attempt Sexual Performance of a Child (felony 2), Criminal Solicitation (felony 1), Conspiracy to Commit Capital Murder (felony 1), Criminal Attempt Capital Murder (felony 2), and Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Sexual Assault (felony 1).

Barter is being held in the Shelby County Jail awaiting transfer, Shires told multiple media sources Monday. He reported no bond will be set.

According to information contained in the criminal complaint, the Child Exploitation Task Force of Homeland Security Investigations Unit out of Cocoa Beach, Florida initiated an undercover online investigation after observing a post believed to have been made by Barter on the “dark web.”

The undercover agent began communicating with Barter who expressed his desire  to rape, murder and cannibalize who he believed to be an underage girl. 

After Barter and the agent finalized plans to meet and commit the acts, Barter was taken into custody near his home.

  Barter is currently being held without bond.

Shires said the dark web, and the individuals that operate there, pose an increasing threat to the safety of children. Technology has eliminated the barrier of distance for these sort of activities. In this case, law enforcement mounted an integrated; both state/federal and multi-state-effort between Texas and Florida; to deal with this particular individual.

Hopefully, this will serve as a continued reminder that parents should always be vigilant and aware of what their children are doing on the internet. I hope it also gives folks some comfort to know that there are “also good guys at work — highly trained, highly capable individuals protecting us,” he said.

“And rest assured, anyone utilizing the dark web will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by my office, Shires said.

According to Barter's postings on social media is a former student of Joaquin High School and of Panola College. He said he formerly worked as a laborer at a local ministry and for a Center food processing plant as a parts pickup person.

Credit reporting firm Experian describes the dark web as a hidden network of websites. While it requires special resources, it's just a matter of steps and getting certain systems set up that provide a way in for those looking to join the dark web and keep information such as their IP address hidden.

“Visitors here utilize anonymity software to mask visitors' true identities,” according to experian.com. When you visit a website on the world wide web, IP addresses trace online activity on your computer. But on the dark web, with the masking software activated, a computer takes a randomized path to its file destination, bouncing around a number of encrypted connections to ultimately mask both location and identity.”