Australian and U.S. police on Tuesday announced the arrest of 98 men for child sex abuse crimes, in an operation sparked by the murder of two FBI agents who were investigating an international ring of pedophiles.
The operation began in Australia last year after the two agents were killed in Florida in 2021 while serving a search warrant for a man accused of owning child pornography.
The FBI then tipped off Australian police about members of a peer-to-peer network in the country allegedly sharing child-abuse material on the dark web, Australian police commander Helen Schneider said during a news conference.
"The longer people like this avoid detection, the longer the cycle of abuse continues. This was a sophisticated network," Schneider said.
The men arrested in Australia, aged between 32 and 81 years old, distributed images and videos of child-abuse material, chatted on message platforms and allegedly used encryption to avoid detection.
Most Australian offenders were employed in jobs that required a high degree of knowledge of internet networks. Some are accused of having produced their own child abuse material, police said.
Two Australian offenders have been sentenced to jail while the others were on trial. The related FBI investigation has led to the arrest of 79 people.
(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Stephen Coates)
Published under: Australia