72 charged in online global child sexual abuse ring
The investigation, led by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, serves as the largest in US history.
Three indictments and one complaint were unsealed on 3 August charging 72 individuals with participating in an international criminal network dedicated to sexually abusing children, and producing and disseminating child pornography throughout the world. These charges resulted from an extensive investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Operation Delego, an ongoing investigation that was launched in December 2009, targeted the 72 charged defendants and more than 500 additional individuals around the world. These individuals allegedly participated in Dreamboard – a private, members-only, online bulletin board. Dreamboard was created and operated to promote pedophilia and encourage the sexual abuse of very young children in an environment designed to avoid law enforcement detection. To date, 52 of the 72 charged defendants have been arrested in the United States and abroad.
Members allegedly traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting children 12-years-old and younger, often violently. They collectively created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse. The international group prized and encouraged its members to create new images and videos of child sexual abuse. Numerous Dreamboard members sexually abused children, produced images and videos of the abuse, and shared the images and videos with other members. Operation Delego represents the largest prosecution to date in the United States of individuals who participated in an online bulletin board conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography, and evading law enforcement.
For more information on this story, visit the U.S. ICE website.