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Sweeping child porn bust nets 348 arrests worldwide

TORONTO — A sweeping child pornography investigation has led to the rescue of 386 children around the world and the arrest of 348 people, Canadian police said Thursday.

Toronto police describe the Project Spade operation as one of the largest child porn busts they’ve ever seen.

“It is alleged that officers seized hundreds of thousands of videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children, some of the worst that they have ever viewed,” Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said.

Police said 108 people were arrested in Canada and 76 in the U.S. Others were arrested in other countries. Police said the children were “rescued from child exploitation” but did not give more details.

Beaven-Desjardins said the investigation began with a Toronto man accused of running a company since 2005 that distributed child pornography videos. Police allege Brian Way, 42, instructed people around the world to create the videos of children ranging from 5 to 12 years of age, then distributed the videos via his company, Azov Films, to international customers. The videos included naked boys from Germany, Romania and Ukraine, which it marketed as naturist movies and claimed were legal in Canada and the United States.

Police said they executed a search warrant at Way’s company and home, seizing about 1,000 pieces of evidence: computers, servers, DVD burners, a video editing suite and hundreds of movies. Police said they began their investigation in 2010 and worked with Interpol in more than 50 countries including Australia, Spain, Mexico, Norway and Greece.

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