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15 Northern suspects in child porn investigation

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 27/03) - Project Snowball, the Canadian extension of an international Internet child pornography police investigation, has turned up 15 suspects from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Worldwide, there are more than 2.300 suspects, police forces say.

According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) 11 of them are from the Northwest Territories and four currently live in Nunavut.

No charges have been laid in the NWT. However, three adult males were charged with possession of child pornography in Nunavut. In one case, the charges were dropped.

Cheryl Pashkevitch of the OPP's child pornography section said, in some cases, police couldn't find the suspect, or didn't have enough information to obtain a warrant. In other instances, the suspect reported the credit card stolen, which was used to purchase pornography.

The suspects are believed to have used credit cards to purchase child pornography from Landslide Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas company controlled by Thomas Reedy.

He is currently serving a 1,335-year prison sentence.

Sgt. Phil Johnson said "G" Division RCMP is involved in Project Snowball. But he's been asked by headquarters in Ottawa not to comment on the investigation.

Johnson said the division doesn't have a good understanding of the problem in the North because it doesn't have a section dedicated to child pornography investigations.

He added the RCMP follows up on any information it gets.

"It's a reprehensible crime," he said. "And as long as there is a market to buy this stuff, more and more children are at risk."