The US immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Friday the operation, codenamed Operation Orion, had been aimed at “individuals who possessed, received, transported, distributed, advertised or produced images or videos of child pornography.”
Operation Orion was conducted in cooperation with Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) special agents and other law enforcement agencies. From May 1 to May 30, arrests were made in the United States, Spain, the Philippines, Argentina and the UK according to information published on the ICE website.
Many perpetrators used the Internet to meet and groom underage children in chat rooms or on social networking sites.
“With the advent of summer vacation, children may have more time and access to the Internet, making this a good time to talk to them about online dangers,” said ICE Director John Morton.
“Let this operation be a warning to anyone who would think they can use the Internet to exploit children: we are out there looking for you, we will find you, and you will be prosecuted.”
Results of the operation were released a day after prosecutors from the US attorney’s office in Indianapolis, USA, reported that an international child pornography ring had been broken that had produced and distributed explicit images of infants and toddlers over the Internet.
The attorney’s office announced seven men had been convicted in connection with the case and that two more had pleaded guilty. Authorities were still investigating suspects in the US, Sweden, Serbia, the Netherlands and the UK, as reported by Associated Press news agency.
According to First Assistant US Attorney Josh Minkler, over two dozen children had been abused in the US and overseas in the production of the material.
The investigation began in 2010 with the arrest of David Bostic. During a raid on his home in Indiana, USA, authorities found hundreds of images and videos on his computer of children aged between two months and four years engaged in sexual acts. Investigators used the material to gain access to others involved in the case.
Investigators have busted a child pornography ring spread across the U.S. and Europe that produced and distributed sexually explicit images of babies and toddlers online (Operation Bulldog)
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