Twenty-one people have been arrested and at least one child has been rescued after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched investigations into allegations of lewd behavior and child porn that spanned across three Canadian provinces and two territories, the RCMP said.
Police seized more than 100 computers and found hundreds of thousands of sexualized images that depicted children, mostly under 12, including infants and toddlers, the Regina Leader-Post reported.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Snapshot, brought charges of possessing, making and distributing child porn as well as charges of indecent exposure and Internet luring, an RCMP statement said.
"Through this operation we are sending a clear message to individuals who are engaged in this exploitive and destructive behavior: we will find you and prosecute you,” RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said in a statement.
The RCMP is Canada's national domestic law enforcement agency that functions at the federal, provincial and municipal level.
One of the victims, a 14-year-old Saskatoon, Saskatchewan boy saw his abuse come to an end as a result of the police action.
The operation, which began in June, was aimed at "high-risk offenders" using peer-to-peer networks to obtain and distribute the damaging images. Paulson pointed out that the age of the Internet poses new challenges to law enforcement as criminals adopt technology to continue their activities in clandestine corners of the Web and in ways that are more difficult to detect.