Police arrest more than 50 in child-sex probe

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The Independent US

Authorities have arrested more than 50 people in what police said today is the largest-ever coordinated investigation of Internet-based child sexual abuse in Canada.

John Bilinski, the officer in charge of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, said the investigation centered on an Internet ring through which participants exchanged child porn.

Police said they seized more than 130 computers, dozens of hard drives and thousands of disks and other computer storage hardware in raids over several days this week.

"These online images and videos contain real victims, real children being sexually abused," said Chief Constable Derek Egan. "These arrests are important for many reasons...We will not be deterred from protecting children and making the Internet a safer place for everyone."

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police statement said those arrested this week face charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and possessing, making and distributing child pornography. Police said more than 100 criminal charges have been laid.

RCMP Chief Joe Buckle said additional searches, arrests and charges were anticipated in the coming weeks. Authorities did not yet know if the ring reached beyond Canada.