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BERLIN (AP) – German prosecutors announced on Monday that they had destroyed one of the world’s largest international darknet platforms for child pornography, used by more than 400,000 registered members.

Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement with the Federal Criminal Police Office that in mid-April three German suspects, believed to be administrators of the “Boystown” platform, had been arrested along with a German user. . One of the three main suspects has been arrested in Paraguay.

They also searched seven buildings connected with the pornographic network in mid-April in Germany.

Authorities said the platform was “one of the largest darknet child pornography platforms in the world” and had been active at least since 2019. Pedophiles were using it to trade and view child pornography and toddlers, mostly boys, from all over the world.

Prosecutors wrote that they had found “footage of the most serious sexual abuse of young children” among the photos and videos.

A German police task force investigated the platform, its administrators and users for months in cooperation with Europol and law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the United States and the United States. Canada, the statement said.

The three main suspects were a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who had lived in Paraguay for many years, according to prosecutors’ statement. . They worked as administrators of the site and gave advice to members on how to evade law enforcement when using the platform for illegal child pornography.

A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the platform’s most active users, having allegedly downloaded more than 3,500 posts.

Germany has requested the extradition of the suspect arrested in Paraguay.

No name has been given in accordance with German privacy regulations.

After the raids in mid-April, the online platform was closed.

Germany’s top security official thanked the authorities for their success.

“This successful investigation has a clear message: those who attack the weak are nowhere safe,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. “This is what investigators are working on day and night, online and offline, around the world.”

“We will do everything in our power to protect children from these disgusting crimes,” he added.

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