Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Allison Lawlor
Globe and Mail Update and AP

12 arrested worldwide in Internet child-porn case

Police trying to break up an international child-pornography ring began seizing computers and videos Wednesday making 12 arrests, including one in Ontario, as part of an international investigation led by Interpol.

Interpol, the international police organization, reported that a total of 12 people were arrested worldwide in the operation dubbed Operation Artus. Law enforcement authorities said that the people being targeted were suspected of exchanging and downloading child pornography over the Internet.

In Ontario, the OPP and Timmins Police executed a search warrant at a residence in South Porcupine, Ont. and laid charges against a 40-year-old man.

Police seized a computer system, floppy disks, CD-ROMs and an unspecified quantity of child pornography. Police charged Derek William Burgess with possession of child pornography.

In the U.S., the targets of the investigation included a U.S. military pilot, a registered nurse, a network administrator for a publishing company and an artist, the Customs Service said. Search warrants involving eight people were executed in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska.

From the searches, Customs agents seized 12 computers; more than 600 compact disks, floppy disks and external computer drives; hundreds of videos; a digital camcorder; and a book on how to seduce children, the agency said.

One arrest was made in the United States, the agency said. The government said that three of the individuals being targeted in the investigation had been members of a child pornography ring that was broken up in 1998.

At the same time, search warrants were issued by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Finland, Austria and Sweden, Customs said.

Operation Artus began in November 2001. Agents of the German National Police, using evidence gathered from a search warrant, discovered that a German man had been exchanging child pornography over the Internet, Customs said. The man provided nicknames of some members of a group that German authorities believed were involved in the exchange of child pornography.

As a result of the German investigation, law enforcement authorities were able to identify the eight people in the United States that the U.S. government believes are involved, Customs said.

U.S. Customs said in a statement that "a common aim of members was to find and exchange child pornography in DVD quality movie file format. As a requirement, members had to offer new child pornography material from time to time to remain part of the group."

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Created: March 21, 2002
Last modified: July 9, 2002
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