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Man faces jail following Customs investigations into online child exploitation

08.03am 04 September 2023 | News

Customs investigations have resulted in jail time for a man involved in the online exploitation of children.

A 20 year-old Warkworth man has been sentenced at North Shore District Court today to 30 months’ imprisonment for exporting, distributing and possessing child sexual abuse materials.   

Simon Peterson, Chief Customs Officer - Child Exploitation Operations Team, said the man had uploaded a significant number of images and videos depicting child sexual abuse to an overseas based social media platform.   

"Customs was notified by the US-based National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children about concerning files the man had uploaded. This sparked a Customs investigation, which revealed the man had shared objectionable materials to other users on social media and messaging platforms." 

Customs subsequently executed a search warrant at the man's home address in June 2022. He was arrested on site. 

Further analysis of the man's devices by Customs electronic forensic investigators uncovered more child sexual abuse materials, some of which had been shared with other users of an online messaging application.    

Customs electronic forensic investigators also identified another cloud storage account linked to an email address used by the defendant, and executed a remote access search warrant. Even more child sexual abuse materials were discovered, with more than half of the imagery in the worst category of child abuse.  

“Customs is committed to identifying individuals at the earliest opportunity to disrupt this type of offending,” Mr Peterson said.  

“Customs and our law enforcement partners in New Zealand and overseas are watching closely for people who view and share child sexual abuse materials. This sentence is a result of those partnerships and the dedication of our child abuse and electronic forensic investigators involved in this investigation.”  

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.