- The Spanish National Police uncovered 14 different groups using an instant messaging application with 58 individuals sharing child abuse material
- On the action day 19 people were arrested and 19 house searches were carried out in Spain
- Europol and INTERPOL supported the operation
The Spanish National Police with the support of Europol and INTERPOL arrested 19 members of one of the biggest child abuse networks in Spain. The gang, operating across Europe and America, used 14 different groups in an instant messaging service to share the illicit content. The individuals hide their identities by using specific anonymisation software.
On the action day, 19 house searches were carried out in several Spanish cities on the occasion of which police officers seized 11 laptops, 23 mobile phones, 4 tablets, 11 hard drive disks, 7 memory sticks and 5 memory cards. The investigation revealed that all of these devices - 16 terabytes in total, contained some 2 400 000 pieces of footage of children between the age of 0 and 8 years old being abused.
Due to the network which operated in different countries, making it an international cross-border case, Europol supported the Spanish authorities by facilitating the information exchange and crosschecking the data contributed by Spain. These images and videos were processed for victim identification. Europol is supporting the involved European Member States to fight against child abuse on an international level.