13 Australian children have been removed from harm and 19 men arrested by police during an investigation into a “technologically sophisticated” online child abuse network.
The move by the police was sparked by the murder of two FBI Special Agents in the US Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, who were shot dead by suspect David Lee Huber as they executed a search warrant on a related case in Florida in 2021.
The Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation began its investigation in 2022 after the FBI shared intelligence about Australian members of a peer-to-peer network allegedly sharing child abuse material on the dark web.
Network members were able to search for and distribute images and videos of child abuse material and allegedly used encryption and other methods.
AFP Commander Helen Schneider said some of those arrested had “potentially” been committing child abuse offences for up to 10 years.
The alleged Australian offenders were aged between 32 and 81 years old.
“Today we celebrate the rescue of 13 children,” FBI legal attache Nitiana Mann said at a press conference in Brisbane this morning.
The related FBI investigation has led to 79 people being arrested for their alleged involvement in the network.
Police are not ruling out further arrests.
Source : 9NEWS