The Two-Way
10:53 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Police Arrest Hundreds In Global Child Porn Sting

Toronto police say they've cracked a massive child porn network, rescuing 386 children around the world and nabbing hundreds of suspects, including teachers, clergymen and doctors.

Of the 348 people arrested worldwide, 108 were in Canada and 76 in the U.S. Project Spade, as the sweep is known, is described by Canadian police as one of the largest-ever child porn busts.

Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, head of Toronto's Sex Crimes Unit, said officers are believed to have "seized hundreds of thousands of videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children, some of the worst that they have ever viewed."

"Of concern to the investigators was the number of people (arrested) who have close contact with children," Beaven-Desjardins said at a news conference. "The arrests included 40 school teachers, nine doctors and nurses, 32 people who volunteered with children, six law enforcement personnel, nine pastors or priests, and three foster parents."

Police allege that the focus of the network was Brian Way, 42, who instructed people around the world to produce sexually explicit videos of children, ranging in age from 5 to 12 years of age. Since 2005, Way, from Toronto, has distributed the videos in 94 countries via his company, Azov Films, police say.

The BBC says Way has been in custody since 2011 as part of an earlier sting.

The Associated Press says police "executed a search warrant at Way's company and home, seizing about 1,000 pieces of evidence: computers, servers, DVD burners, a video editing suite and hundreds of movies."

"Way was charged with 24 offenses, including child pornography. He is in jail. Police also designated Azov Films as a criminal organization, charging Way with giving directions on behalf of a gang."

The BBC says:

"The Toronto Police Service (TPS) Child Exploitation Section was able to determine the identities of customers using Azov Films' databases.

US investigators then joined the inquiry because many of the films were being exported to addresses in America. Seven months later, a series of raids took place across Toronto, including at a site owned by Azov Films and Brian Way, police said."

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which participated in the sting, tells AP that it began its investigation by accessing Azov's website and making undercover purchases.

Reuters says the investigation, started in 2010, was joined by some 30 police forces from Australia, Spain, Ireland, Greece, South Africa, Hong Kong, Mexico, Norway and the United States, among others. It led to the rescue of 386 children, most of whom were prepubescent, Beaven-Desjardins said without elaborating.

She said the investigation was ongoing and that "there will be further arrests and I imagine there will be more children that will be saved because of it."

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