Investigators found that the ring had distributed over the internet “more than a million photographs and videos of child pornography and more than a thousand DVDs,” Spanish authorities said in a statement.
Among those arrested, who are mostly French and Moroccan nationals, was the alleged leader of the group who is suspected of “eight counts of sexual abuse of 13-year-olds,” they said.
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The investigation began in the city of Tortosa in the northeast region of Catalonia at a welcome centre for minors and subsequently authorities discovered that child pornography was being staged in an apartment there. That led to the arrest of three suspects – two French and one Moroccan – in May 2015.
And in July, four other suspects were arrested in several regions of Spain, from Catalonia to Valencia in the east and the Basque Country in the north.
“A large part of the child pornography was produced by the criminal organisation itself,” police said, exploiting socially vulnerable children in Spain and also in Morocco.
Other images were produced during trips between 2000 and 2015 to several countries, including Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Kenya, the Czech Republic and France.
Of the 80 victims of the pornography ring, authorities said 29 have been identified.
Police added that the group also intended to offer vacation packages to Morocco for paedophiles.