PAEDOPHILE RING BUST: More than 400 ‘users’ of child pornography messaging group identified

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CONFISCATED: Mobile phones and other devices contained ‘illicit images’. CREDIT: Guardia Civil Interior

AN international network of child pornography involved in producing and distributing material in 27 countries has been identified, and 14 arrests made in Spain.

A further four suspects are being investigated, and the identities of more than 400 ‘users’ who viewed the images on WhatsApp groups have been passed on to Europol and Interpol.

The Guardia Civil worked with the European agencies to identify those allegedly involved in circulating images in Cadiz, Galicia, Barcelona, Madrid and Salamanca.

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During the operation, officers seized files from a location in Pontevedra, which contained  ‘extremely crude images of children from one to 15 years-old having sexual relations with adults and even with animals’.

They also identified 420 users who had shared the images.

An official statement from the Guardia Civil said: “Access to these groups was through various links that could be obtained through the respective administrators of the chats or through certain websites or social networks, as was Facebook.”

The investigation, known as Tygra’ began in October of last year, during which 15 home searches were made.

During these raids, officers confiscated 37 mobile phones, eight computers, 15 hard drives, four cameras and 11 optical media with extremely crude images of children, in ‘explicitly pornographic situations’.

After verifying that the ‘illicit activity’ was not limited to Spain, the Civil Guard has provided Europol and Interpol with the locations of all of the identified users.

The source added: “The operation remains open in order to thoroughly analyse all the material intervened in order to determine the existence of a possible crime network involved in the production of paedophile material, to learn the identities of the victims and find out, where appropriate, possible connections with other users.”

The operation is being carried out by the Organic Unit of the Judicial Police of the Command of the Pontevedra  Guardia Civil. The case has been delivered to the Court of Instruction Number 3, Cangas.

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