Eleven B.C. men, including two from Vernon, have been arrested and charged in a nationwide investigation spearheaded by the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre.
The investigation began from coast-to-coast in February.
“To date, we have 32 charges against 11 men,” said B.C. RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Rob Vermeulen. “There are also a number of investigations that remain ongoing.”
The Vernon men arrested are aged 46 and 49. Each face three charges of possessing/accessing and making available child pornography.
Other men arrested from B.C. are from Kelowna, Revelstoke, Burnaby, Duncan, Nanaimo, Sidney, Surrey and Williams Lake. Ages of the arrested range from 23 to 65.
More than 150 individuals were arrested or are presently under investigation in the operation which is called Operation Snapshot III.
Five children, including two from B.C., were removed from harm. Vermeulen would not say where the B.C. kids are from.
“For every person arrested and prosecuted, dozens of potential future victims are saved from harm,” said RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. “Over the past three years, Snapshot has built on the dedication, partnership and collaborative efforts of police agencies, sending a message to would-be abusers that we will not be deterred from protecting children.”
The operation targeted child sex offenders who collect, possess, share, make available, distribute and produce child sexual exploitation material online.
Snapshot III involved 167 investigations that were conducted by municipal, provincial and federal police services, which resulted in the seizure of hundreds of computers and hard drives along with nearly two million images or videos.
Operation Snapshot III follows the two previously successful operations: Operation Snapshot in 2012 targeted individuals in the Prairie and Northern regions of Canada, and Operation Snapshot II in 2013 focused on individuals in Atlantic Canada.
The two operations combined were responsible for the rescue of five children, the arrest of 54 individuals and the seizure of millions of child sexual exploitation images and countless leads in other child sexual exploitation cases.