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Nineteen arrested, three in the Canary Islands, in an operation against child pornography 

Members of the Civil Guard have arrested 19 people, including two minors, in 14 Spanish provinces for the alleged crime of possession and/or distribution of child pornography through the WhatsApp application.

The investigation started in March 2017 and ended on January 11.

In the Canaries there have been three detainees; a 45-year-old Spaniard from Los Realejos (Tenerife), a 45-year-old Spaniard from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and a Uruguayan aged 35 from Arrecife (Lanzarote).

Twenty homes were searched in 14 provinces -Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Alicante, Murcia, Cordoba, Bizkaia, Granada, Valladolid, Malaga, Almeria, Tenerife and Lanzarote, A Coruña and Castellón- and numerous items seized.

The investigations began after information that certain ‘closed’ or ‘secret’ groups on Facebook were exchanging links to instant messaging groups. In some cases, mobile users were not the owners of the line. This was allowing the sharing of images and videos of child pornography and adult and child zoophilia, involving children as young as a few months to five.

Most of these groups, more than 20 accounted for, have an administrator in South American countries and the number of users would amount to “thousands of people”, given that each group has a maximum capacity of 250 people.

On the profile of the user, the agents have specified that they are people who “showed their sexual interest in minors,” and said that there are two minors – both 16, in the provinces of Alicante and Murcia. It has also indicated that it has been found that the administrators of the groups “eliminated” the members who “did not share” files “to encourage sharing and facilitating distribution”.

Action has been taken on telephone numbers resident in Spain, 19, and an alert has been sent to the authorities of countries such as Mexico, Chile and Peru.