The National Police has arrested 18 people for alleged distribution and possession of child sexual exploitation material through the Internet.
Those arrested stored and shared illicit material from computers and mobile devices, and made use of private connections to make it difficult to locate their users. During the operation, the agents have seized 21 mobile phones, two tablets, six computers, eight hard drives, six memory cards, 17 USB sticks and a camera.
The investigation began in January 2020 thanks to international cooperation in the fight against the sexual exploitation of minors through ICTs through a notice from the United States Embassy, which informed the agents of the detection of various Internet connections in Spain from which, presumably, content with child pornography material was being distributed.
Specifically, the information received had its origin in the complaints made by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
At least 20 people, located in Spain, would have used their virtual accounts to store and share files with child sexual exploitation content with other pedophiles. Those arrested used VPN (private connections) to make location difficult, which is common in committing this type of crime with the aim of anonymizing the true IP addresses of their terminals. In this way, they prevent or hinder the location of their users.
Those arrested used both their computers (laptops and desktops) and their mobile terminals, often synchronized with each other. Therefore, the researchers had to target the search on any computing device.
The operation has ended with the arrest of 18 people spread throughout the national territory. Specifically, the arrests have been made in the provinces of A Coruña, Alicante, Barcelona, Burgos, Cádiz, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Girona, Guipúzkoa, Madrid, Tarragona and the islands of Lanzarote and Tenerife.
The agents have seized numerous storage devices, including 21 mobile phones, six computers, eight hard drives and 17 USB sticks.