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Cablegate: Spanish Police Coordinate Massive International

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS MADRID 001036

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL SP
SUBJECT: SPANISH POLICE COORDINATE MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL
PEDOPHILIA RAID


1. The Spanish Civil Guard reported March 16 that police
officers from 12 European and Latin American countries were
arresting 500 people on charges of distributing child
pornography on a Spanish-language Internet chat site. It is
unclear whether the location of the server has been
identified. Spanish police arrested 19 people in 13
provinces on March 16. Arrests were also being made in
France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Chile, Argentina,
Panama, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and
Uruguay. Police confiscated about 20,000 files containing
videos, photographs, and MP3 files containing child
pornography.

2. "Operation Cerberus" began January 19 when an Internet
user in the northwestern Spanish village of Caldas de Rei in
Pontevedra province filed a complaint after seeing hard-core
child pornography on an Internet chat site. According to a
Civil Guard spokesman, "The person clicked three times on an
Internet chat page and went into a chat room that displayed
very explicit images of child pornography." After confirming
the tip, the Civil Guard began monitoring the site for
additional illegal material and began tracing its sources.
After watching the site for 15 days, the police identified
more than 900 computers throughout the world that had
downloaded images. About 400 of the computers were located
in Internet cafes. The Civil Guard then contacted Eurojust,
the EU body established in 2002 to combat serious
cross-border crime, and Ibered, the Latin American
organization that coordinates cross-border crime.

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3. According to Spanish law, owners of pornographic material
depicting children can be imprisoned for three months to a
year. If the material is distributed, the sentences are
increased to between one year and four years. If the
children in the images are less than 13 years old,
distribution penalties can range from four to eight years.

4. The nineteen Spanish arrests took place in Madrid,
Alicante, Valencia, Salamanca, Zamora, Burgos, Vizcaya,
Lleida, Barcelona, Asturias, Tenerife, Majorca, and
Pontevedra. Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso told the
press that the case is still open and there could be further
arrests.
MANZANARES

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