U.S. Authorities Bust Large Louisiana Child Porn Ring With Boys from Australia, New Zealand & 4 Other Nations as Victims

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By Vittorio Hernandez | March 20, 2014 9:53 AM EST

The U.S Department of Homeland scored a major victory against child pornography by busting on Tuesday a large Louisiana-based global child porn ring. The victims of the ring are teenage males from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium and the U.S. who were tricked to make sexually explicit videos of themselves.

The leader of the ring is 27-year-old Jonathan Johnson who was arrested together with 13 other American men. Mr Johnson was the operator of two encrypted, member-only Web sites that had over 2,000 lewd videos sold to more than 27,000 members worldwide.

After examining the videos, authorities identified 251 minors from the six nations as the victims, eight of whom were females.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson disclosed that majority of the victims were aged between 13 and 15, but two of them were below 3 years old.

The boys were posing as girls in social media sites and were coerced into creating videos while engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The ring allegedly distributed the lewd materials though the Tor network which permits Internet anonymity via hiding of online traffic and user location. Tor run for 12 months from mid 2012 to mid 2013 until it was discovered after a video was sent to a child using the U.S. Postal Service.

The 14 men were charged with running a child exploitation business, while the network's 300 subscribers in the U.S. and overseas will face lesser charges.

Daniel Ragsdale, deputy director of DHS and leader of the investigation, said, quoted by The Telegraph, "Never before in the history of this agency have we identified and located this many minor victims in the course of a single child exploitation investigation."

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