Sixteen Alberta men have been arrested on charges relating to child pornography following a three-month investigation, police said Thursday.
The arrests were made in Calgary, Red Deer, Airdrie and Strathmore, as part of an operation carried out by the internet child exploitation unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT).
"All of the individuals arrested possessed significant amounts of child-exploitation material, some of it extremely graphic in nature," said Insp. Dave Dubnyk.
The operation also led police to identify two underage victims of child luring.
Dubbed "Operation Icebreaker," the initiative saw 25 search warrants executed between April 5 and June 1.
More than 500 computers and other types of digital devices were seized.
Forensic analysts continue to comb through the data on the seized devices and, so far, about 6,800 photos and videos containing child pornography have been identified, police said.
Some of the images included victims as young as infants, according to police.
Det. Sean Spence said about 160 of the 500 devices have been examined and roughly 28,000 gigabytes of data was found on those devices.
About 19 million images have been examined so far, said Spence, who choked up at points when describing what was found among those images.
"It's important to understand that these images and videos are a crime in progress," he said.
"They're difficult to watch and get through. They are children that are being sexually assaulted."
The victims ranged in age from babies to 17 years old, Spence said, while the images depicted activities ranging from children being touched in an inappropriate manner to "graphic sexual abuse."
"In one circumstance, in an investigation that is still being followed up with, an individual was in possession of a known video where two children were brutally, sexually assaulted and murdered," he said.
Arrests and charges
The 16 people arrested are facing a total of 56 child pornography-related charges.
- Adam Adler, 39, of Calgary.
- Marvin Agboro, 18, of Strathmore.
- Darian Blanchard, 21, of Red Deer.
- Brent Bulycz, 42, of Calgary.
- Curtis Brock, 27, of Airdrie.
- Yency Gomez, 38, of Calgary.
- Andrew Halliday, 28, of Red Deer.
- Ryland Jacklin, 28, of Airdrie.
- Kyle Jacobson, 32, of Calgary.
- Devin Lamont, 27, of Calgary.
- Mikael Macek, 25, of Calgary.
- Brandon McKnight, 23, of Calgary.
- Ole Olsen, 38, of Calgary.
- David Steele, 44, of Calgary.
- John Stewart, 47, of Calgary.
- A 16-year-old young offender from Calgary who cannot be named.
Other than the similarity of the offences, police said none of the cases are linked.
Spence said more charges are possible as investigators continue going through the seized data, a process that could take months.
Members of the Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, and RCMP work as part of ALERT.
16 Alberta men arrested for child porn, some depicting 'graphic sexual abuse' Robson Fletcher CBC News Jul 06, 2017