The leader of the dark web pedophile ring “Babyheart” has been jailed after he was unmasked by an underground police sting. The West Midlands Police’s Regional Organized Crime Unit (ROCU), undertook an undercover operation on the dark web to expose the global pedophile ring after the earlier arrest had been made.
The culprit, a 27-year-old Portuguese who has not been named yet, was caught after he was monitored by undercover agents of the West Midlands Police Regional Organized Crime Unit. The Portuguese national was revealed to be the ringleader of Babyheart and hid behind the dark web moniker “Twinkle” in running the pedophile ring. The unnamed mastermind behind Babyheart also sexually abused and raped babies and children with some as young as just two months and shared the images and videos on his dark web pedophile marketplace.
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His videos and images uploaded on Babyheart were then shared with thousands of other pedophiles on dark web site. After the identity of the leader was unmasked by officers of the West Midland Police unit, the Portuguese police in a press conference stated that they identify the man as a Portuguese national and commended all law enforcement agencies who had a hand in unmasking him as the leader of the dark web pedophile ring.
The Portuguese national reportedly hid behind many advance encryptions and a counter-surveillance application to hide his location and identity from law enforcement. He also on several occasions, provided false information on his whereabouts in numerous chat rooms and pedophile forums to throw the police off his real location. Officers of the Regional Organized Crime Unit however still conducted their covert operation regardless of the dark web, putting pieces together to unmask him.
Officers of the Regional Organized Crime Unit infiltrated Babyheart and other dark web pedophile chat rooms and steadily worked their way into knowing the real identity behind the “Twinkle” username. After some time of gathering information on the dark web, the police revealed that the man behind the dark web pedophile site was in a scrapyard in Águeda, Portugal. That location was later revealed to be where the 27-year-old ran the dark web site. The Portuguese national was arrested on June 20, 2017, and after an analysis of his electronic devices seized at his residence, over seven kids who were among his victims were identified.
One of his co-conspirators in running Babyheart on the dark web was also arrested after the police found a video of him abusing a six-year-old boy, a two-month-old baby, and his own daughter. Additional investigation revealed that he hid behind the moniker “Forgotten” on the dark web to post and share videos of children being abused by pedophiles. He was convicted of charges against him and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The investigation into the dark web pedophile marketplace is still ongoing with Detective Inspector Stephen Wills, head of the ROCU, saying that, this case is far from being over. The Portuguese police also thanked Interpol, Europol and the Police force of countries including Brazil, Italy, Canada, Australia, France, and Austria.
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Detective Inspector Stephen Wills also stated that the sentencing of the Portuguese was a result of a year-long investigation by numerous law enforcement agencies in the world. He thanked his team for playing a vital role in this conviction by gathering most of the intelligence that unmasked the location of the culprit and his other sex offenders in his ring. He also stated that he and his team are trying to create an environment of fear, disruption and constant panic amongst dark web pedophiles and pedophile around the world who abuse children. Detective Wills added that his team is still looking for pedophiles who abuse children and then take to the dark web to share videos and images of the despicable act. “My officers will go anywhere in the world to find such people,” he stated, “I’m very happy we were able to help in bringing down a sick pedophile.”
Wil van Gemert, Europol’s Deputy Executive Director Operations, also expressed his desire for many international collaborations between various law enforcement agencies as he stated that, this arrest was successful because of the joint effort. He added that it is essential for this type of joint operation to carry on to identify pedophiles on the dark web, hunt them down, arrest and then prosecute them. He stated that this will help in creating a safe world where millions of kids around the world can grow without any fear or harm.
Source: Express and Star
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