Arrest follows international tip-offs to Customs over alleged child exploitation material
07.42am 10 October 2022 | News
Customs investigations have led to the arrest of a 39-year-old man in Auckland on Friday (7 October 2022) for allegedly uploading and distributing objectionable material online, which depicts the sexual exploitation of children.
Customs’ Child Exploitation Operations Team (CEOT) investigators launched Operation Solomon in response to international reports Customs received about the uploading of 98 objectionable publications involving the sexual exploitation of children.
Customs was alerted to the alleged offending by an overseas social media chat platform and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a US-based non-governmental agency, which had been contacted by an online cloud storage service.
The man arrested faces eight charges, including possession of an objectionable publication, and knowingly exporting and distributing an objectionable publication.
The charges carry maximum penalties of between 10 years and 14 years imprisonment.
Customs-led investigations are continuing, and further charges cannot be ruled out at this stage.
The Acting Chief Customs Officer of CEOT, Peter Thompson acknowledged the assistance of international organisations, as well as the Police in this operation.
“The dedication of Customs CEOT specialists, and our work with the Police and the Department of Internal Affairs, as well as our network of intelligence and investigations sources across the world, gives us a broad and powerful reach to track down and prosecute those who deal in the sexual exploitation of children,” Peter Thompson said.
If you have concerns or suspicions about someone who may be trading in, or producing child sexual abuse images or videos, contact Customs confidentially on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you are, or know of, someone who is at risk or being abused, contact the Police immediately.