International pedophile ring brought down

SASKATOON — Two Canadian men face charges in what international authorities say is probably the largest online pedophile network in the world.

SASKATOON — Two Canadian men face charges in what international authorities say is probably the largest online pedophile network in the world.

Police in the Netherlands said Wednesday they had smashed a huge international pedophile ring, rescuing 230 children from abuse and arresting 184 suspects. The three-year investigation code named Operation Rescue was centred on an Amsterdam-based online forum called boylover.net.

The Canadian arrests — one in Saskatchewan in 2009 and one in Ontario last fall — weren’t connected publicly to the global network until Wednesday.

Sgt. Patrick Nogier with the Saskatchewan Integrated Child Exploitation unit, known as ICE, said the child exploitation unit got information from international authorities on Nov. 15, 2009. The unit traced a computer to a home in Abernethy, southeast of Regina, where investigators conducted a search.

Four days later, they charged David John Lapage, 68, with possession, accessing and making available child pornography. Lapage, who has been released on conditions, is to appear in court May 18.

The other Canadian suspect is a man from Kitchener, Ont.

Olaf Heinzel, a Waterloo, Ont, regional police spokesman, said a man was arrested in November over allegations of online pornography. He said Philip Publuske, 40, was charged with distributing and possessing child pornography. He remains in custody until his next court appearance March 28.

Heinzel said police became aware of the Operation Rescue investigation after it had arrested Publuske.

The European Union police agency Europol said the heavily encrypted forum, whose administrator appeared in a Dutch court on Tuesday charged with sex offences, had up to 70,000 members.