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Washington Fights Child Pornography on Internet - 2001-08-08


Federal prosecutors in Washington have issued arrest warrants for the operators of pornographic websites based in Russia and Indonesia both linked to what is believed to be the largest child pornography operation ever uncovered. Authorities say they has already netted the arrests of at least 100 people.

Pornographic websites have become some of the most profitable businesses on the Internet. But possessing and distributing child pornography is illegal in the United States and authorities say the lewd images that were allegedly downloaded by an estimated 250,000 subscribers originated overseas.

Chief U.S. Postal Inspector Kenneth Weaver led this investigation. "I know two of the countries, and there might be multiple webmasters in one of them, Indonesia and Russia," he said.

The images were distributed by an American couple in Texas who have now been sent to jail. Their credit card based business led prosecutors to uncover this international child porn operation that had brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Only some of those who paid for the child pornography have been arrested. Others are believed to be outside the United States and beyond the immediate reach of authorities.

"There were literally thousands of subscribers to the websites and as I mentioned we took the most egregious, those individuals who had a clear predisposition to violate the law, and went after them," Mr. Weaver said. "But there will be many more arrests."

The operators of the overseas websites where the pornographic images originated remain at large.