Twenty-six people from across Alberta are facing dozens of charges after a three-month investigation into child pornography.
According to a Wednesday news release, most of the arrests came after investigative referrals were received from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Centre.
The people arrested have no definitive links other than the offence, ALERT said, and suspects were arrested from cities and towns all across Alberta.
“The internet isn’t anonymous and these arrests demonstrate ALERT’s willingness to travel to all corners of the province to make arrests, put predators behind bars and keep kids safe,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT chief executive officer.
One of those arrested was a 16-year-old teen from Sherwood Park. ALERT didn’t specify whether it was a boy or girl who was arrested.
The 26 people facing charges are:
- a 16-year-old young offender from Sherwood Park
- Kevin Borchert, a 29-year-old man from Sherwood Park
- David Cadieux, a 27-year-old man from Calgary
- Joseph Cadrain, a 32-year-old man from Strathmore
- Gary Campbell, a 28-year-old man from Lamont
- Michael Ciesla, a 32-year-old man from Edmonton
- Michael Courtepatte, a 44-year-old man from Athabasca
- Victor Delage, a 29-year-old man from Wainwright
- Gerald Donel, a 57-year-old man from Edmonton
- Brian Farris, a 40-year-old man from Grande Prairie
- Humberto Ferreyra, a 51-year-old man from Lake Louise
- Coby Franz, a 42-year-old man from Alder Flats
- Sean Giles, a 41-year-old man from Lethbridge
- Brock Hann, a 21-year-old man from Morinville
- Richard Lepchuk, a 59-year-old man from Edmonton
- Christian Meier, a 52-year-old man from Calgary
- Troy Melnyk, a 49-year-old man from Spruce Grove
- Stephen Miehe, a 28-year-old man from Cardston
- Alasdair Mills, a 61-year-old man from Edmonton
- David Peeke, a 45-year-old man from Edmonton
- Christopher Piers-Hanley, a 31-year-old man from Edmonton
- Kalon Specht, a 30-year-old man from Edmonton
- Andrew Stredick, a 30-year-old man from Calgary
- Charles Tadashore, a 43-year-old man from Calgary
- Laurence Thrasher, a 40-year-old man from Edmonton
- Michael Vandermay, a 52-year-old man from Calgary
According to ALERT, each of the suspects was charged with at least one child pornography offence. A full list of offence’s was posted to ALERT’s website, and includes charges like making, accessing and distributing child pornography as well as making child pornography available.
“In Alberta, those who participate in the exploitation of children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The government of Alberta will ensure our law enforcement has the tools and resources to track down child predators and bring them to justice,” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, said in a news release.
ICE believes the rise in the number of investigative referrals could be due to “digital dependency during COVID-19 isolation measures.”
There is information on the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s website for supporting families, caregivers, schools, educators and child-servicing organizations through the pandemic.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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