Police child porn sting snags twelve Swedes

Twelwe people were arrested in Sweden early on Wednesday morning suspected of spreading child pornography, according to the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen).

”We could probably bring in 20 a day. It’s really just a question of limitations to police resources,” said criminal inspector Björn Sellström at the agency’s child porn unit to news agency TT.

The raid was carried out between 6am and 10am on Wednesday morning at different locations countrywide and was coordinated together with 25 other European countries.

The arrested – 11 men and one woman – are under suspicion for aggravated child pornography offences, which could give them up to six years in prison.

According to the police, many confessed as soon as the officers arrived.

”One of them even said: ‘I am glad you’re here’. It isn’t that uncommon. They have become addicted and it is a relief for some to be found out,” said Sellström.

The information about the arrested group came from one of the cooperating countries.

”The intelligence gathering has been carried out in Europe. We’ve received information of IP-addresses, times and material,” Sellström said.

According to the police, they were given 20 IP-addresses from one of their European collaborators. In eight of the cases, however, they were unable to identify the users, for various reasons.

The arrested twelve were identified after sharing child related pornographic material on a file-sharing site.

Images and and films from other raids had been tagged with so called digital fingerprints and the site was then searched. The search generated hits among a number of people, whose IP addresses were collected.

So far, computers and hard drives have been seized. Police are still not certain of how much material they will find.

”From experience I’d say that it could encompass hundreds of thousands of images,” Sellström said.

The people arrested on Wednesday are suspected of possession and of spreading the material, rather than producing it.

”The most likely scenario is that these people are consumers, at the bottom of the pyramid. But consumption implies new production. And that means children being sexually abused,” he said.

That only twelve people were arrested in the most recent police raid, Sellström explained as being because the cooperating counties had chosen to only concentrate on 20 offenders per country.

According to Sellström, lagging police resources lead to limitations, not in the least when it comes to the man-hours needed to go through the immense material.

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Organized crime spreads to small Swedish towns

While efforts to clamp down on criminal networks in Sweden's larger cities have been successful, gangs are re-forming in smaller towns.

The newspaper Aftonbladet has mapped out serious organized crime in Sweden.

It found that although several organized criminal networks have been broken up and gang ties have weakened, new networks have at the same time formed across Sweden.

One example is the town of Eskilstuna in the south-east, which experienced spiralling violence over the summer with four instances of shootings in public spaces.

The latest case happened on August 17th when a 23-year-old was hit in a drive-by-shooting. The gunman was riding a scooter.

According to local police the shooting was related tp a conflict between two groups and several of those involved were previously members of a gang called Black Cobra.

The summer’s violence in Eskilstuna is typical of the new organized crime in Sweden, says Lars Öjelind, a gang expert at the National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen).

“Loyalty does not have the same meaning as in the past,” Öjelind told Aftonbladet.

“People quit and start new groups. There are many local networks and gangs these days.”

Öjelind said there could be several reasons why gangs are moving to mid-sized towns. For instance, premises are cheaper and a weaker police presence coupled with inhabitants who are unused to gangs means that there are fewer controls.

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