Two Thunder Bay men arrested during large OPP child porn case

THUNDER BAY — A large, province-wide investigation into child abuse and pornography led to dozens of arrests, including two people from Thunder Bay.

Dubbed Project Aquatic, the OPP-led investigation involved 27 police agencies, including the Thunder Bay Police Service.

The two suspects arrested from Thunder Bay include a 28-year-old male and an 18-year-old.

In a release from the OPP, officers started and finished the investigation in February of this year that targeted people making, possessing and distributing child sexual abuse material ending in their identification and arrest.

During a media event on Wednesday, a lead investigator with OPP said the investigation was launched in reaction to complaints from various social media platforms, where items are flagged by the platforms and reported to the appropriate police agencies.

The investigation led officers to identify 34 victims, ranging in age from infant up to 18 years old.

A total of 30 children were safeguarded, meaning they were removed from unsafe environments during the course of the investigation.

Sixty-four people were charged across the province, and 348 charges were laid. Many are still before the courts or are under a publication ban for various reasons.

Police seized 607 electronic devices during the course of their investigation. The release from OPP did note that one of the suspects had approximately 21 terabytes of data containing child sexual abuse material in their possession.

The youngest person arrested during the investigation is a 16-year-old from Windsor, and the oldest was identified as an 89-year-old male from Toronto.

Katie Nicholls, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,