Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Pedophile ring spanning the globe busted up, up to 70,000 pervs in 30 countries involved
Police around the globe smashed an international pedophile ring -- the largest ever found by law enforcement.
As many as 70,000 people in 30 countries appear to have been involved in the horrific network of abuse, European Union police chief Rob Wainwright announced Wednesday at a press conference at The Hague.
Authorities said 184 suspects were arrested and 230 victims were rescued in the three-year investigation.
"\[It is\] probably the largest online pedophile network in the world," Wainwright said.
He said the ring was tied to an online forum called boylover.net based in Amsterdam.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Rescue, rounded up suspects including police officers, youth leaders and teachers ranging in age from 17 to 82.
One Spaniard who worked at summer youth camps is suspected of abusing some 100 children over five years, officials said.
Undercover investigators infiltrated the network and discovered members trafficking in disturbing images and video of children being abused.
When the Dutch administrator of the forum was arrested, he helped authorities untangle the site's complex encryption measures, enabling them to identify other members.
Suspects have been identified in the U.S., the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Canada and Thailand, authorities said.
Peter Davies of the British child protection center said there would be more arrests as the investigations continue.
"Those who have been members of the site can expect a knock on the door in the very near future," he said.