German police dismantled a pedophile ring of more than 400,000 members hosted on the darknet and arrested four suspects. In 2017 and 2019, the German authorities had already dismantled two large networks of the same kind on the internet.
The German judicial police announced on May 3 that they had dismantled a major child pornography network of “more than 400,000 members” which was rife on the “darknet”, reports AFP, which quotes the German judicial police. This network is presented as one of “the largest in the world”, and four suspects have been arrested, including the suspected animators of the platform.
The police dismantled this platform called “Boystown”, created in 2019, as well as two couriers which were affiliated with it. This dismantling took place after a series of searches carried out in mid-April in three German regions.
“The platform had an international reach and was used for the exchange of pornography relating to minors”, mainly photos or videos of abuse perpetrated on young boys. Among them were “images of serious sexual abuse of very young children”.
Three Germans were arrested on national territory on the basis of an arrest warrant from the Frankfurt court, after an investigation lasting several months carried out by a special unit of the German police under the coordination of Europol and with the collaboration of the Dutch police , Swedish, Australian, American and Canadian. Subject to an international arrest warrant, a fourth German residing in Paraguay was arrested on the spot and should be handed over to the German authorities.
“A fantastic success in the fight against sexual violence against minors”
Among these four suspects, three aged 40, 49 and 58 are suspected “of having been the administrators of the child pornography platform” who, in addition to taking care of the management of the network, were in charge of “monitoring clients” , specifies the police. In particular, they are suspected of having taken care of the technical implementation of the platform and the maintenance of the server. They also reportedly sent members of the platform security instructions aimed at minimizing the risk of being discovered by the authorities. The fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man, is suspected of having been one of the most active users of the platform and of having posted more than 3,500 messages on the network.
The Minister of Justice of the region of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, called the operation “a fantastic success in the fight against sexual violence against minors”. This is not the first time that Germany has successfully dismantled a pedophile network on the internet.
In June 2017, the pedophile network “Elysium” dismantled by the German authorities
In March 2019, four Germans were accused of having managed a platform called “Elysium” and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years and ten months to nine years and nine months. Active for six months and closed in June 2017 by the German authorities, the site had more than 111,000 members worldwide and allowed them to exchange photos and videos of children.
In September 2019, the German police also arrested seven people suspected of having administered a darknet platform hosted on servers hidden in a former NATO bunker where child pornography, drugs and stolen data were being trafficked. .
The darknet is an anonymized internet space and not referenced by conventional search engines. This network is used regularly to host the criminal trafficking of drugs, weapons or child pornography.