US tips prompt German raids over child abuse images


BERLIN — German authorities searched more than 40 apartments and other buildings in Berlin on Wednesday in connection with the spread of child abuse images, after receiving tips from the U.S. authorities.

The German news agency dpa quoted Berlin’s criminal police office as saying that 250 investigators were involved in raids against 42 suspects β€” all of them men between the ages of 17 and 84.

Two-thirds of the men were already known to police, half of them in connection with sexual offenses, senior investigator Norma Schuermann said. The raids were the result of several separate investigations rather than a concerted probe into a single network, she said.

Investigators confiscated computers, smartphones and other data storage devices.

Schuermann said the likelihood of people involved in distributing child abuse images getting caught β€œis getting higher and higher.”

She said Berlin police worked together closely with authorities in the United States and that German authorities receive tens of thousands of notices regarding suspects in Germany from the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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