REGINA - A child has been rescued and 16 people have been charged have with child-porn-related offenses as the result of a multi-force police investigation across the Prairies, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, police announced Wednesday.
The RCMP's Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Chidren announced the results of Operation Snapshot at RCMP headquarters in Regina. The investigation began in June and aimed to identify high-risk offenders who were in possession of and distributing child abuse images across file-sharing networks.
As a result of the investigation, 21 people were arrested - including 10 in Saskatchewan, five in Alberta and two in Manitoba - and 16 of those face charges ranging from indecent exposure, invitation to sexual touching, accessing child pornography, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, making child pornography, Internet luring and breach of court order.
Police say more charges are pending.
One child was rescued over the course of the investigation. A man involved in that case also pleaded guilty to abusing a child in Saskatchewan, RCMP said.
The abuse spanned five years, going back to when the child was 8 or 9 years old, police told media.
"I am very proud of the professionalism and quality of service of the men and women on this team," RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said in a release. "These types of investigations are very demanding and stressful for the officers involved, but through this operation we are sending a clear message to individuals who are engaged in this exploitive and destructive behaviour: we will find you and prosecute you."
Thousands of images on more than 1,000 computers and hard drives were recovered in the course of the investigation, police said.