Bavarian investigators have struck a blow against operators of international child pornography platforms on the dark web. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) and the Cybercrime Central Office in Bamberg announced on Friday that several suspects had been arrested in the USA, Great Britain and Germany. They are said to have worked as administrators, programmers or moderators of the platforms.
Three Darknet platforms have been shut down. Several thousand users from Germany and abroad were active on the platforms. They distributed more than 20,000 child pornographic images and videos and published 120,000 postings there every month. "The perpetrators must also expect to be convicted and held accountable in this area. The Darknet is not a legal vacuum either," said LKA President Harald Pickert.
The investigations began in 2019. As part of the evaluation of the evidence seized, the Bavarian investigators were able to establish links to the USA, Great Britain and Australia. In order to jointly investigate those responsible for the platform, there was a meeting of international experts in Munich.
"Moderator" from Germany in custody
In Germany, a suspect was arrested in Bonn at the beginning of November 2022. The 22-year-old is said to have worked as a moderator on a platform. He is currently in custody. Among other things, he was accused of making child pornographic content available to gangs in a large number of cases, it said. This procedure is managed by the central and contact point for cybercrime in North Rhine-Westphalia.
LKA and the special public prosecutor's office had meticulously investigated and shown staying power, said Bamberg's senior public prosecutor Thomas Goger. He is head of the Center for Combating Child Pornography and Sexual Abuse on the Internet, which is based at the Cybercrime Central Office. Numerous users of the platforms have also been identified.
A man from Swabia was arrested in May 2021. More than 800,000 child pornographic images and videos were found on him. The criminal proceedings are ongoing, the LKA and the central office announced.
Central Cybercrime Press Release