Polish and Romanian police have arrested a 40-year-old man on suspicion of sexually exploiting his own child in an international investigation supported by Europol.
The Polish citizen, who was arrested in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, also stands accused of producing and distributing indecent images of children, including material featuring his child, that he shared with fellow paedophiles online.
A joint investigation into the man’s activities also resulted in identification of other suspects, who are currently being probed in connection with similar crimes.
The Polish man was detained in February, but Europol only announced his arrest yesterday.
During searches of the suspect’s apartment, law enforcement officers seized several digital storage devices that were later discovered to contain child abuse material.
The overwhelming amount and nature of evidence collected as part of the operation compelled the man to admit all of the charges laid against him.
Steven Wilson, who heads up Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), commented: “Europol is very happy to see that our support to this ongoing operation is having excellent results.
“Finding that a child is being abused is a tragic discovery, but we invest our time and resources to ensure that such victims are safe and that their abusers will be brought to justice.
“We commend the cooperation between the Polish and Romanian Police through Europol to achieve that in this case.”
In a statement, Europol said it had supported the operation since it began. The agency coordinated the probe, provided access to its databases for cross-checks, organised operational meetings, and made available specialists from EC3 who worked closely with investigators from Poland and Romania to identify both the victim and perpetrator, as well as their location.
News of the suspect’s arrest comes after weeks after Europol supported a similar operation conducted by Romanian police that led to the arrest of another man accused of distributing indecent images of children online from his home in Bucharest.
With the assistance of their colleagues in Poland, investigators discovered the man was using the internet to distribute child abuse material featuring a Polish boy to fellow paedophiles.
During this probe, police established that the man had distributed indecent material featuring the victim between July 2012 and November 2015 after seizing selection of electronic devices and memory cards from a house he was staying in.
Europol said it had provided analytical and on-the-spot support to officers involved in the operation, providing EC3 specialists in victim identification who worked with investigators from both countries to discover the identity and location of the victim.
“This activity, identifying children, is at the heart of such investigations and only by working together can we achieve it,” Wilson said when the results of the operation were announced in February.