Sun. May 19th, 2024

Authorities believe that a child pornography racket is being dismantled following a series of raids conducted by local officers and officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

This week, two men, aged 58 and 62, were apprehended in separate operations in Durban. The operations were spearheaded by Major General Mmantsheke Lekhele.

According to Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, national police spokesperson, these recent arrests bring the total number of suspects nabbed in collaborative sting operations between South Africa and the US to 13.

Police officials rescued two children, aged six and four-months, from one of the homes. Picture: Supplied

Mathe stated that the arrested individuals face charges related to possession, downloading, accessing, and manufacturing of child pornography.

“The 12th suspect was apprehended on Tuesday. The 58-year-old man was found with numerous images and videos depicting children engaged in sexual activities. Additionally, there were images and conversations indicating the availability of boys for sexual favors at a price of R2,500, with buyers having the option to drug them,” Mathe disclosed.

The individual, a well-known Durban actor, has already made a court appearance and has been remanded in custody pending further investigation. Another suspect was arrested on Wednesday.

“Thousands of child pornographic images and videos were seized. On the suspect’s device, police discovered images of children being sexually exploited. During the operation, the Department of Social Development intervened to remove children, aged 6 years and 4 months, residing on the premises,” Mathe added.

“The SPCA was also called upon to assist in relocating a neglected dog and kitten,” Mathe mentioned.

Both men have appeared in court, and the State intends to oppose bail in both cases.

Major General Mmantsheke Lekhele with the suspect who was arrested. Picture: SAPS

Mathe noted that additional arrests of individuals involved in child pornography were made in Gauteng and the Western Cape in 2023.

National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, commended the teams for their dedication.

“Being in possession, accessing, downloading, distributing, facilitating, viewing, and manufacturing child pornography is a crime. All these suspects face charges related to these offenses. We will continue to track down more suspects involved in this type of crime.

“Our priority as the South African Police Service is to protect our women, children, and vulnerable groups from those who perpetrate violence and crime against them,” he concluded.

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