Homes searched in operation over child abuse images

RTE News report more than 30 homes in 12 counties including county Wicklow have been searched as part of an investigation into the possession and distribution of child abuse images.

The raids, under Operation Ketch, were carried out over the past three days and computers, phones and other equipment have also been seized.

Gardaí have said arrests and charges are expected, and that the evidence gathering phase of the operation is now complete.

They have also said their first priority is to try to identify if any of the children in the images remain in danger.

Gardaí said the investigation by the Online Child Exploitation Unit at the Garda’s Protective Services Bureau has been under way since last year.

Operation Ketch was set up to target people suspected of possessing and distributing child exploitation images.

As well as their own inquiries, gardaí received information from law enforcement authorities in the US and Canada, and secured warrants in court to search designated addresses in Ireland.

Searches began last Saturday and continued today in homes in counties Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Limerick, Kerry and Waterford.

Computers, phones, iPads, laptops, documentation and other material has been seized.

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