(VitalNews.org) – An internationally coordinated investigation has succeeded in bringing down an Australian pedophile ring, although not before two investigating FBI agents lost their lives in the line of duty. Nineteen Australian men have been arrested and charged with 138 crimes between them. In the U.S.A, 79 other men have been arrested, with 43 of them already convicted for their crimes. Thirteen children have been rescued from direct harm by the authorities, including children who had been abused by members of the crime ring.
The investigation has been working to take down the international organization since 2021 when two FBI agents, Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, and Daniel Alfin, 36, searched the home of a suspected pedophile, 55-year-old David Lee Huber. Divorced Huber, a father-of-two, shot and killed both agents and managed to wound 3 others before turning his rifle on himself. Despite the double murder and subsequent suicide of the suspect, investigators were able to trace the network of pedophiles all the way to Australia. The FBI shared information with the Australian Federal Police, who used it to create Operation Bakis with state and territory police in 2022.
The members of the child abuse network ranged in age from 31 to 82 years old, and all worked in jobs that required a high level of IT knowledge. They used their software skills to create and share videos of child abuse on the Dark Web and used methods such as encryption in order to avoid detection. Nitiana Mann, an FBI legal attaché, highlighted the complexity of the network and the advanced software skills used in order to carry out their heinous crimes without detection. Mann added that this complexity meant that close co-operation between agencies and even different countries was vital to catching the criminals and putting them behind bars.
Two of the Australian men charged have already been convicted and will spend 20 years behind bars each; 15 years will be served in the Australian Capital Territory, and 5 in New South Wales.
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