Dark web: German police arrested four members of a group suspected of running one of the largest child abuse sites in the world. Hidden in the dark web, the page had more than 400 thousand users.
According to authorities, three defendants were arrested in Germany and one man was detained in Paraguay – and will be extradited to his country of origin. The arrests took place in mid-April, but were not announced until Monday.
After the group’s arrest, the site called Boystown was taken down. Since its creation in June 2019, the platform has served as a “worldwide exchange for child pornography” and used a structure that facilitated access and exchange of images and videos.
The three suspects arrested in Germany are accused of founding and maintaining the site on the dark web. One of them, a 64-year-old man from the city of Hamburg, is said to have personally published more than 3,500 images.
“In addition, users were instructed to safely navigate the platform in order to minimize the risk of discovery by police authorities,” said the German police.
Working together during investigations
Europol, the European Union police agency, assisted in the investigations that resulted in the page being closed. In addition, the German police worked closely with authorities in the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia and Canada.
In a statement, Europol stated that child abuse communities on the dark web exhibit considerable resilience in response to police actions. Therefore, the objective is to prevent the old group from returning with new leadership.
“There were and still are several sites like Boystown. For that reason, investigations will continue to identify those responsible behind these pages, ”prosecutor Julia Bussweiler told NBC News.