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Germany busts international child porn site used by 400,000

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Germany busts international child porn site used by 400,000

BERLIN — German prosecutors announced Monday they have busted one of the world’s biggest international darknet platforms for child pornography, used by more than 400,000 registered members.

Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement together with the Federal Criminal Police Office that in mid-April three German suspects, said to be the administrators of the “Boystown” platform, were arrested along with a German user. One of the three main suspects was arrested in Paraguay.

They also searched seven buildings in connection with the porn ring in mid-April in Germany.

The authorities said the platform was “one of the world’s biggest child pornography darknet platforms” and had been active at least since 2019. Pedophiles used it to exchange and watch pornography of children and toddlers, most of them boys, from all over the world.

Prosecutors wrote that they found “images of most severe sexual abuse of toddlers” among the photos and video material.

“The platform had several forums and chats — the illegal pictures and videos were kept in the forums; in the chats, the members could communicate,” prosecutor Julia Bussweiler said. “There were several language channels to facilitate the communication.”

A German police task force investigated the platform, its administrators and users for months in cooperation with Europol and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the United States and Canada, the statement said.

The three main suspects were a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who had been living in Paraguay for many years, the prosecutors’ statement said. They worked as administrators of the site and gave advice to members on how to evade law enforcement when using the platform for illegal child pornography.

A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the most active users of the platform having allegedly uploaded more than 3,500 posts.

Germany has requested the extradition of the suspect who was arrested in Paraguay.

No names were given in line with Germany privacy regulations.

After the raids in mid-April, the online platform was shut down.

Germany’s top security official thanked the authorities for their success.

“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who assault the weakest aren’t safe anywhere,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. ”That’s what investigators work for day and night, online and offline, globally.”

“We’ll do everything within our power to protect the kids from these disgusting crimes,” he added.

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Court upholds life sentence for man convicted of marijuana possession

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Court upholds life sentence for man convicted of marijuana possession

A Mississippi man will continue to serve a life sentence for a pot bust after a court upheld the lengthy term.

Allen Russell’s life sentence was upheld by a state appeals court Tuesday due to his “habitual offender” status from past run-ins with the law.

State law allows for a life sentence without parole if a person has spent a year in prison on two separate felonies, one of which must be a violent offense, according to the Associated Press/Report for America.

Police confiscated five bags from Russell when he was arrested in 2017, and confirmed that two of the bags contained 1.5 ounces of marijuana.

Under state law, possession of between 1.05 and 8.8 ounces of marijuana carries a sentence of up to three years, a $3,000 fine, or both, the AP said

Russell did more than eight years in prison on two home burglary charges and spent another two years in the clink after a conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm, according to the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruling.

Several judges on the court dissented with the majority opinion.

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Woman hoarding gas flees police, catches on fire after crash

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Woman hoarding gas flees police, catches on fire after crash

A woman who was hoarding gasoline tried to flee police in a stolen car and crashed into a fiery wreck in South Carolina.

A Pickens County Sheriff’s deputy tried to pull over a 2007 Pontiac G6 Thursday evening after he ran the plates and found it was stolen, officials said.

The driver, Jessica Dale Patterson, 28, tried to outrun the pursuing deputy, but lost control of the car and flipped it over on the side of the road, according to a press release.

“The vehicle immediately caught fire, and multiple explosions were heard inside the vehicle,” officials wrote.

Patterson emerged from the car on fire herself, and the deputy pushed her to the ground to extinguish the flames.

The suspect told authorities she was “hoarding” several containers of fuel in the trunk, which were responsible for the fire.

There was no immediate word on the Patterson’s condition or charges against her.

The incident comes two days after the White House pleaded with Americans not to hoard gas amid the ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline.

The Southeast was hit hardest by the fuel shortage. By Thursday morning, fuel was once again flowing to the region.

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Shooting in Rhode Island leaves as many as 9 injured

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Shooting in Rhode Island leaves as many as 9 injured

A shooting in Rhode Island left as many as nine young men injured on Wednesday night.

The wild gun battle took place between groups with an “ongoing feud” in Providence, police said in a press conference.

Gunmen opened fire as they pulled up to a rival’s house in the city’s Washington Park section around 6:45 p.m., according to police.

Some of their targets returned fire, and when the smoke cleared, the Carolina Avenue lawn was littered with dozens of shell casings.

“We find as many as nine, eight or nine victims. We believe it’s going to be nine victims,” Police Chief Hugh T. Clements Jr. said.

All but one of the injured men drove themselves to the hospital. Three people are believed to be in critical condition, the chief said.

The targeted attack marks the largest shooting in the city’s history, according to Clements. Four or five guns were allegedly involved.

“We don’t shy away from the fact that we have a gun issue in this city,” Clements said.

“It’s unfortunate that young men in this community have no regard for life at times. They fire the guns willingly at each other, and this is the case here.”

Detectives are familiar with the suspects and victims in the incident, and were interviewing them at the hospital in the wake of the shooting as officials work to piece together the scene and make arrests, police said.

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