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Wednesday, 8 August, 2001, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
US breaks child cyber-porn ring
US Chief Postal Inspector Kenneth Weaver
US Postal Service heavily involved in the operation
The United States authorities have arrested more than 100 people for subscribing to an internet site which circulated child pornography.

More arrests are expected, as the authorities say they have broken up the largest child pornography ring ever discovered.

The site had more than 250,000 subscribers and was run from Texas via operations in Russia and Indonesia.

We found a collection of video tapes produced by a suspect depicting the sexual abuse of several young girls; one of the girls was only four years old

Kenneth Weaver
US Chief Postal Inspector
Those arrested after a two-year investigation were tracked down through the numbers of the credit cards that they had used to make monthly payments.

Warrants of arrest have been issued for two Indonesians and a Russian, but they remain at large.

The arrests were announced by Attorney General John Ashcroft, who said this was the just the beginning of a new clampdown on child pornography.

"To those in the sex industry who illegally prey on America's innocents, the Department of Justice will use every resource to identify, investigate and prosecute those who violate the law," he said.

Computer consultant

The pornography was also distributed by mail. US Chief Postal Inspector Kenneth Weaver said: "We found a collection of videotapes produced by a suspect depicting the sexual abuse of several young girls. One of the girls was only four years old."

He said the suspect was a computer consultant.

On Monday, the man behind the porn ring, 37-year-old Thomas Reedy, was sentenced to a total of 1,335 years in prison on 89 charges. His wife, Janice, was sentenced to 14 years.

Authorities say that Reedy's company, Landslide Promotions, earned up to $1.4m each month.

The BBC's Paul Reynolds says that this case illustrates how profitable the internet can be for child pornographers, but also how open to investigation the subscribers to these sites have become.

The BBC's Samanatha Simmonds
"The authorities used the company database to track down its subscribers"
See also:

21 Jul 01 | World
US targets cyber-crime
10 Feb 01 | Panorama
Cybercrime: Bob Packham quizzed
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