Global Pedophile Ring Exposed After FBI Shooting, Operated Through High-Tech Network
Global Pedophile Ring Exposed After FBI Shooting, Operated Through High-Tech Network

Washington: The FAA had previously only used civil fines to deal with troublemakers, but as the number of cases increased in late 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed prosecutors nationwide to give criminal charges priority. 

A federal offence, interfering with an airline crew can result in harsh criminal penalties, such as up to 20 years in prison in extreme cases. If a member of the flight crew is assaulted or threatened with a deadly weapon, the sentence may be increased to life in prison. While a Massachusetts man accused of trying to stab an airline attendant in March with a broken spoon initially faced a life sentence, it was later determined that his mental illness rendered him incompetent for trial.

According to AFP Commander Helen Schneider, the suspects ran a "technologically sophisticated online child abuse network" on the dark web and "used software to anonymously share files," with some of them allegedly engaging in criminal activity for over a decade. The majority of the Australian suspects, she continued, had jobs that required a "high degree" of familiarity with online networks, which had helped them avoid capture.

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Schneider claims that two of the Australian men have already been found guilty, and FBI legal attache Nitiana Mann claims that there have been another 43 convictions in the US. The investigation led to the removal of at least 13 kids from danger.

This procedure was extremely difficult. No agency or nation can combat these threats alone due to the complexity and anonymity of these platforms, according to Mann, who also noted that the FBI had informed authorities in other nations about suspects within their borders but did not specifically name any.

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After special agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger were fatally shot while executing a search warrant for suspect David Lee Huber in Florida in 2021, the FBI became aware of the sex abuse ring for the first time. In the ensuing firefight, three additional agents were hurt, and Huber then killed himself.

Evidence gathered after the fatal shootout would later alert the FBI to a larger paedophile network outside of US borders, and last year the FBI provided the AFP with information about potential Australian members. The ensuing joint investigation, known as "Operation Bakis," is still active, and Schneider noted that additional arrests shouldn't be ruled out.

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Over 300 distinct child sex abuse investigations have been started as a result, claims Mann, who claims that over 200 international leads were sent to third countries during the operation.

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