Wednesday, March 20, 2002

B.C. man may be involved in international child pornography ring

Twelve arrested, homes searched, porn confiscated in 10 countries

PARIS (AP-CP) — Police trying to crack an international child pornography ring flourishing on the Internet made 12 arrests Wednesday, including one in Canada, as part of an investigation co-ordinated by Interpol and dubbed Operation Artus.

In addition to the arrests, a number of search warrants were executed and computers and large quantities of data seized in 10 countries, Interpol said.

One of those search warrants was executed on the home of a 52-year-old Victoria man, but no immediate charges were laid. Police Det.-Sgt. Dave Mann said a computer system was seized, but "because of the forensic examination that's required, we do not enter into the computer or turn it on, so we have no idea at this time what is exactly in the computer."

Another was executed by the Ontario Provincial Police at a residence in South Porcupine, Ont., near Timmins, and Derek William Burgess, 40, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

Customs agents in the U.S. say they scooped up 12 computers, more than 600 CDs, videos, and a book on how to seduce children.

An Interpol statement said the seized materials are to be analysed "in an effort to identify and find the child victims who were sexually abused in the production of the material and save them from further abuse."

The U.S. Customs Service said that one person was arrested in the United States and that search warrants involving eight people were executed in seven states.

The investigation began in November 2001, when German agents discovered that a German man had been exchanging child pornography over the Internet. The man provided nicknames of some members of a group that authorities believed were involved in the exchange of child pornography.

The German investigation allowed authorities to identify suspected members of a wider child pornography ring.

Other searches were carried out in Britain, France, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Finland, Austria and Sweden.

The targets of the U.S. investigation included a military pilot, a registered nurse and an artist, according to U.S. Customs in Washington.

© Copyright 2002 Canadian Press

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Created: March 20, 2002
Last modified: July 9, 2002
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