Northern Ontario man charged in international child pornography sweep

28-year-old Sudbury man arrested, charged April 5 as part of an international sting against what is described as the takedown of one of the largest child sex abuse material websites on the dark web

An international investigation into the purchasing of internet child exploitation materials using Bitcoin from a South Korean Child Pornography website (WTV-WelcomeToVideo) has led to the arrest of a 28-year old local man, Greater Sudbury Police said April 7.

The investigation resulted in the takedown of one of the largest child sexual abuse material websites on the Darknet.

Launched in 2019, the investigation was a collaborative effort involving US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the British National Crime Agency (NSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Information related to individuals living in Canada who purchased child exploitation materials from the website was sent to local police services by the RCMP so that law enforcement agencies could initiate investigations into individuals living in their jurisdictions, stated the GSPS release.

On April 5, the internet child exploitation unit, computer forensics unit and intelligence unit executed a search warrant at a residence in Greater Sudbury, and as a result of the investigation, GSPS arrested a 28-year-old man and charged him with two counts of accessing child pornography and two counts of possessing child pornography.

The man attended bail court on April 6 and has been remanded into police custody. His name will not be released in order to protect the identities of potential victims. The investigation into this incident is ongoing, police said.

As per a news release from the United States Department of Justice, provided to media by GSPS, March 5, 2018, saw agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police sweep in to seize approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, one of the largest seizures of its kind, the release states.

The files seized, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained more than 250,000 unique videos. The release states that 45 per cent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.

The darknet website where the material was hosted is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin. In fact, the site itself boasted more than one million downloads of child exploitation videos by users.

Cybertip.ca is Canada’s national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. Canadians are encouraged to report concerns to Cybertip.ca if someone they know may be victimizing children online.

Editors note: Sudbury.com has changed how we describe material that shows the sexual abuse of children, as we feel “child pornography” is an inaccurate term that equates sexual abuse with legal pornography. We feel “child sexual abuse material” is a more accurate term. However, under the Criminal Code, ‘child pornography’ is how such charges are described, so when listing charges only, Sudbury.com will use the term ‘child pornography.’

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