Romanian and Polish police have taken part in a joint operation that led to the arrest of a man suspected of online child sexual exploitation.
Supported by Europol, officers discovered the man had been distributing indecent images of a Polish boy online to fellow paedophiles.
Conducting a search of the man’s home in Bucharest, Romanian police last week seized four laptops, three hard drives, five memory sticks, 118 optical data storage devices and three memory cards.
The suspect, who is said to be in his late 30s, was remanded in custody at the request of the Romanian Prosecutor’s Office as judicial proceedings are prepared.
In a statement, Europol said it provided “on-the-spot” support for officers involved in the operation, with specialists from the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) on hand to help with victim identification.
EC3 specialists worked with investigators from both countries to establish the identity and location of the victim.
Emphasising the importance of international coordination in such cases, head of EC3 Steven Wilson commented: “A child victim of sexual exploitation and abuse has been identified through the combined efforts of Romanian and Polish police together with Europol specialists.
“This activity, identifying children, is at the heart of such investigations, and only by working together can we achieve it.”
News of the operation comes after police in Sweden broke up a suspected paedophile ring last week.
Officers arrested eight men on suspicion of being part of a group that discussed child sexual abuse and sadistic murder over the phone. Three of those held had been arrested on child sex abuse charges in the past, prosecutors said.
Four of the men, who are aged between 50 and 70, were remanded in custody last Thursday.
Giving no further indication of the precise nature of the telephone conversations members of the group are accused of conducting, prosecutor Reena Devgun said they are all suspected of aggravated child pornography offences.
One of the men, a 53-year-old based in a suburb of Stockholm, has also been charged with the rape of a child.
It is believed the men had been under investigation since last autumn, after a tip-off concerning one of them was made by a member of the public.
“Additional suspects were then identified as they made use of a telecommunications service which they called. There, they discussed extremely serious sexual offences and serious violent crimes against children,” Devgun said in a statement translated by the Local.
“This kind of crime is extremely difficult to detect, and accessing stored data has been crucial in the investigation. Police have put in a considerable amount of analytical work and invested large resources in the investigation.”