An international law enforcement action involving six countries, to dismantle a network of child abuse photographers, has resulted in the arrest of 10 individuals and the seizure of an extensive amount of digital evidence.
Arrests were made in the Czech Republic (5), France (1), Ireland (1), Spain (1) and Sweden (2). During six house searches, 30 TB of data, hundreds of DVDs, and 480 000 files for analysis were seized.
Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), together with Eurojust, supported this international investigation into a network of professional photographers who specialised in producing and distributing child abuse material.
The goal of Operation Atelier, which was initiated by the Czech law enforcement authorities, was to dismantle the criminal network that was established by the main targets in the Czech Republic and Sweden. The Czech target took advantage of socially and financially disadvantaged children by convincing them to pose for him - close to 70 children became victims. The suspects then distributed these illegal child abuse images off- and on-line to customers abroad, who are thought to be part of a worldwide network. The Swedish suspect cooperated closely with the Czech target to distribute the illegal material in the EU and Canada.
Europol supported the investigation by facilitating the exchange of information and intelligence, producing analytical reports and hosting an operational meeting. As a consequence of the operational meeting at Europol and a follow-up meeting at Eurojust, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Spain and Europol signed a joint investigation team (JIT) agreement in the framework of this operation. A coordinated action day was consequently held on 4 March 2014.
For further information:
Europol - Ms Lisanne Kosters, Corporate Communications
Tel: +31 70 302 5001