Child porn crackdown

Simon Brouder

Gardai in Kerry are expected to make arrests within days as part of a massive national crackdown on the possession and distribution of child pornography.

Over the weekend detectives from the Tralee-based Kerry Division Protective Services  Bureau and the Gardaí's national Online Child Exploitation Unit raided a premises in Kerry and seized computers and other electronic devices.

The Kerry raid was part of a three day nationwide operation which saw 31 homes in 12 counties raided and searched. 'Operation Ketch' was set up to target people suspected of possessing and distributing child exploitation images.

Gardaí have said the evidence gathering phase of the operation is now complete and arrests and charges are expected to be made in all 12 counties within a matter of days. The raids were carried out based on enquiries by Gardaí and on information provided by the FBI and other law enforcement authorities in the USA and Canada.

Citing concerns about potential vigilante action against suspects, Gardaí declined to give precise details of the date and location of the Kerry raid. Gardaí say that, based on the information gathered and examined so far, there does not appear to be a link between any of the 31 suspects.

While no charges have been filed so far the Gardaí say these will follow once all the seized material has been examined. The national crackdown has already netted over 150,000 images and films of child pornography and more raids are planned.

Detective Supt Declan Daly of the National Protective Services Bureau said it is unclear how many children are involved or if any of them are in Ireland. He added that child protection agency Tusla has been informed of all cases where there is a child protection risk in the raided homes.

Kerryman

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