OIJ police entering the Granadilla de Curridabat home of the suspected leader of the Child Porn network operating in Costa Rica since 2009. Photo OIJ

Operating as a “modeling agency” since 2009, on the promise of becoming international models, a child pornography network in Costa Rica obtained the written consent of the parents for their children to be photographed naked.

Costa Rica’s Attorney General, Jorge Chavarria, explained that the ‘red’ (network) sought girls, between the ages of 11 and 17, and that the parents did not read carefully the clauses of the contract where the production of the pornographic content was authorized.

Related:

“That’s totally illegal. You can not take pictures of a naked girl,” said Chavarría, referring to Costa Rica’s child porn laws that prohibit the production and distribution of photos and videos of minors (boy or girl under the age of 18), with or without parental consent.

In Thursday morning raid in homes in Granadilla de Curridabat, Desamparados, Alajuela, San José and Heredia, the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) detained five men.

Part of the evidence collectedi by OIJ agents during the morning raid. Photo OIJ

The men were identified by their last names, Núñez Romero, believed to be the leader of the organization. The other four, the photographers, were identified as Solano Corrales, Arroyo Vargas, Barrantes Carballo and Prado Fernández. All are between the ages of 25 and 38.

Chavarria said that the morning operation was in coordination with the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico, where five individuals were also arrested.

Walter Espinoza, Director of the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), explained that their investigation began in  2016 after a mother of a victim filed a complaint.

Walter Espinoza, Director of the OIJ, waiting outside while his agents do their thing inside. Photo OIJ

The Director explained that the victims were recruited and chosen through casting calls by the modeling agency, VDM Models, located in Plaza González Víquez.

At the casting call, the mother would be asked to wait in a separate room during the photoshoot. “Once they were in that room, they were asked to undress, take their pictures and in some cases violate them,” Espinoza said.

The OIJ chief continued, In order to achieve their goal, the suspects threatened the children with killing their mother, who was waiting in the other room.”

The photos and videos were then sent to Mexico, the financial side of the organization where the images and videos were uploaded to the “deep web” or “darknet“, for consumption by paying customers, who paid between US$500 and US$5,000 to access the content.

In Costa Rica, at least 26 minors were recorded and sexually abused. Chavarria said they have already been in contact with 4 victims.

“We may have more (arrests). We are sure that there are many more victims,” Espinoza said.

What is Child Porn?

From Wikipedia. Child pornography is pornography that exploits children for sexual stimulation. It may be produced with the direct involvement or sexual assault of a child (also known as child sexual abuse images or it may be simulated child pornography. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts or lascivious exhibitions of genitals or pubic areas which are recorded in the production of child pornography. Child Pornography may use a variety of media, including writings, magazines, photos, sculpture, drawing, cartoon, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games.

Laws regarding child pornography generally include sexual images involving prepubescents, pubescent or post-pubescent minors and computer-generated images that appear to involve them.

Visit the Wrong Website, and the FBI Could End Up in Your Computer

In a 2014 article on Wired.com explains how, using a technique by hackers to infiltrate a high-traffic website and the subverts it to a deliver malware, the FBI has been quietly experimenting with drive-by hacks as a solution to one of law enforcement’s knottiest Internet problems: how to identify and prosecute users of criminal websites hiding behind the powerful Tor anonymity system. Click here to read the article.