CALGARY — The youngest victim in a child porn sting that netted 10 southern Albertans was six months old, police say.
Six Calgarians were arrested and charged in Operation Ice, a sweep that seized images and videos of very young victims, Const. Rob MacGregor of Lethbridge Regional Police said.
“(The victims’) ages ranged from six months old to just under 18, male and female,” MacGregor said.
Officers with Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) had gone online to monitor so-called peer-to-peer networks that allegedly shared pictures and videos of children being sexually abused.
Police began executing warrants last December and seized more than 330 computers and other electronic devices containing thousands of images that were very disturbing for investigators to view, Det. Dean Jacobs of Calgary Police said.
“It’s absolutely difficult. It’s very disturbing when it’s a young person...I’m talking about an infant being sexually abused, but we have to do it, it’s what we signed up for,” Jacobs said.
The arrests are a good step, but will have a limited effect on a flourishing, destructive trade in child pornography, Staff Sgt. John Guigon said.
“Unfortunately, the reality of these arrests will have a very minimal impact on the flow of these images,” he said.
“But the message is ‘We are watching, there is no anonymity for you.’”