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In this file photo, RCMP cordon off a crime scene using police tape (JOHN LEHMANN/The GLOBE AND MAI)
In this file photo, RCMP cordon off a crime scene using police tape (JOHN LEHMANN/The GLOBE AND MAI)

Crime

Police find ties to global child-porn ring in Toronto Add to ...

Toronto police are investigating the Canadian headquarters of a global child-pornography ring that Spanish authorities say amassed millions of dollars in DVD sales over the course of eight years.

Toronto police wouldn’t comment on the ongoing local investigation Sunday. But a police source confirmed that the international effort began in part thanks to information that originated here.

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Spanish national police said Saturday they had arrested 28 people in connection with the child-porn network, which they say had been managed out of Toronto since 2004. The network abused and filmed young children in Ukraine, Germany and Romania, police said, then sold the DVDs in dozens of countries, making an estimated $1.6-million annually.

The advertising and sales side of the business was based in Toronto, police said. Spanish news service EFE said people based in Canada were behind multiple websites selling the videos. Toronto police would not comment on details surrounding the case Sunday. Constable Wendy Drummond confirmed that the police service’s Child Exploitation Section was involved in this investigation, but had “ no details to provide.

“TPS often works on international joint investigation with ties to child pornography and child exploitation that have ties to Toronto,” Constable Drummond said in an e-mail. Child Exploitation Section “officers continually monitor file sharing networks, the TOR network, and other platforms in which people sexually exploit children on the Internet.”

TOR is a service meant to help web users remain anonymous and – theoretically – untrackable by scrambling traffic from their computers around the world.

“Due to the global nature of these cases,” Constable Drummond said, the Child Exploitation Section “at times locates international suspects and works with international law enforcement to brings those individuals to justice.”

Spanish police said Saturday that they’ve rescued 19 children so far, and are pursuing charges against 10 Spanish citizens in addition to the 28 arrested. Several have been charged with abuse as well as pornography-related offences. Police said they’ve seized 1,881 CDs and DVDs, 20 computers, 81 hard drives, 27 USB keys, six cellphones, six cameras and two video cameras, among a host of other documentation and media.

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