Nearly 900 members of a global ‘dark web’ pedophile ring sprawling Europe and the Americas have been arrested following a two-year investigation, the FBI and Europol reported after the website’s founder was handed a 30-year jail sentence.
Shedding light on the scope of the operation which is still active, the FBI revealed that in the US alone, 350 arrests were made as part of a wide-ranging investigation into Playpen – a secret website that is being referred to as possibly the biggest child pornography online dump that ever existed.
The arrests and other law enforcement actions related to the investigation were carried out “in countries far and near”, including Turkey, Peru, Chile, Ukraine, Israel and Malaysia, according to the FBI.
Europe accounts for the major share of arrests and convictions with 368 suspects being charged. A total of 870 arrests were made in connection with the case, according to Europol.
Over 300 children who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Playpen members have been identified or rescued.
EU Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King, said “a hugely significant blow has been struck against one of the most heinous of crimes, arguably the worst of all, thanks to the excellent transnational cooperation of Europol with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as other law enforcement agencies around the world.”
Playpen’s founder, Steven W. Chase, 58, was sentenced Monday to 30 years behind bars. The site he set up in August 2014 boasted some 150,000 users worldwide until it was taken down by the FBI following a controversial covert operation. …
Low hanging fruit no doubt. Still, it might crimp access by the higher ups to the pool of victims.