A suspect has been arrested for allegedly making a series of child sex abuse videos and five victims rescued in Spain – less than a week after Australian police shared with investigators worldwide the offending videos they had found.
The quick resolution was possible because of the images of a man’s hands who appeared in the videos, according to a new report from the international police organization INTERPOL.
The suspect’s name wasn’t released immediately, and other investigative details were being withheld for now.
But authorities said they found the images of girls ages 5-7 on a website featuring child abuse.
Police in Australia, the Queensland’s Task Force Argos, shared them with other INTERPOL components, including its Crimes Against Children unit, which identified Spain as the possible location where they were made.
Spain’s Central Cybercrime Unit then conducted further analysis on the videos, and pinpointed a neighborhood near Madrid.
“Additional examination of the man’s hands led investigators to believe he may be a mechanic, and the search was narrowed down to workshops in a specific area,” the international police force explained.
“After a canvas sheet similar to one which appeared in videos was spotted at one of the addresses, a surveillance operation was set up. A man who potentially fit the suspect’s profile was observed leaving the premises later that day and followed home.”
A 46-year-old Romanian national was arrested just the next morning on his way to work, and linked to the videos through a tattoo on his arm, the same as one seen in the videos.
“He was arrested on charges of sexual abuse and the production and distribution of child sexual abuse images,” INTERPOL reported.
Police, during a search of his home, found massive amounts of computer equipment including five mini-cams allegedly used for the videos.
The victims all were identified by officers then asking around the neighborhood, authorities said.
The international group’s global communications system and database resource allow comparison of images found in videos, to help link victims, abusers and places.
The organization explains: “By analyzing the digital, visual and audio content of photographs and videos, experts can retrieve clues, identify any overlap in cases and combine their efforts to locate victims of child sexual abuse.
“Enhanced features in Version 4 launched earlier this year include advanced sorting of videos and images, chat functions and interconnection with national child exploitation databases. ICSE version 4 is the culmination of a 30-month project funded with the support of the European Commission.”
To date, more than 14,000 victims have been identified via the International Child Sexual Exploitation database, leading to the arrest of nearly 6,300 offenders worldwide.”