Between June 20 and Sept. 17, ICE has charged 26 suspects with 63 offences.
A majority of these arrests came as the result of investigative referrals from the RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Crime Centre, which works with internet and social media providers to track and investigate online instances of child sexual exploitation.
Brian Farris, a 40-year-old man from Grande Prairie, was among the 26 individuals charged with at least one child pornography offence.
“In Alberta, those who participate in the exploitation of children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Government of Alberta will ensure our law enforcement has the tools and resources to track down child predators and bring them to justice,” said Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, in a release.
“On behalf of all law-abiding Albertans, I thank ALERT and the law enforcement organizations across the province that worked tirelessly to arrest and charge these criminals. Alberta’s justice system is here for all Albertans, especially for children victimized by sexual predators.”
ALERT says there is no definitive link between the suspects other than the nature of offences allegedly committed.
ICE speculates that the increase in the number of investigative referrals is partly related to digital dependency during COVID-19 isolation measure.
“The internet isn’t anonymous and these arrests demonstrate ALERT’s willingness to travel to all corners of the province to make arrests, put predators behind bars, and keep kids safe,” said Supt. Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT Chief Executive Officer, in the release.
The other 25 individuals charged are as follows:
- a 16-year-old young offender from Sherwood Park
- Kevin Borchert, a 29-year-old man from Sherwood Park
- David Cadieux, a 27-year-old man from Calgary
- Joseph Cadrain, a 32-year-old man from Strathmore
- Gary Campbell, a 28-year-old man from Lamont
- Michael Ciesla, a 32-year-old man from Edmonton
- Michael Courtepatte, a 44-year-old man from Athabasca
- Victor Delage, a 29-year-old man from Wainright
- Gerald Donel, a 57-year-old man from Edmonton
- Humberto Ferreyra, a 51-year-old man from Lake Louise
- Coby Franz, a 42-year-old man from Alder Flats
- Sean Giles, a 41-year-old man from Lethbridge
- Brock Hann, a 21-year-old man from Morinville
- Richard Lepchuk, a 59-year-old man from Edmonton
- Christian Meier, a 52-year-old man from Calgary
- Troy Melnyk, a 49-year-old man from Spruce Grove
- Stephen Miehe, a 28-year-old man from Cardston
- Alasdair Mills, a 61-year-old man from Edmonton
- David Peeke, a 45-year-old man from Edmonton
- Christopher Piers-Hanley, a 31-year-old man from Edmonton
- Kalon Specht, a 30-year-old man from Edmonton
- Andrew Stredick, a 30-year-old man from Calgary
- Charles Tadashore, a 43-year-old man from Calgary
- Laurence Thrasher, a 40-year-old man from Edmonton
- Michael Vandermay, a 52-year-old man from Calgary