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1M child exploitation photos and videos seized, 8 Albertans arrested


Authorities have arrested eight people, including seven Calgarians, in connection with one of the largest seizures of child pornography in Alberta.

The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team's Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) team made the arrests over the past three months.

"Operation ICE Storm 5 prioritized suspects with the largest collections and some of the most graphic content," officials said in a statement.

"To date, nearly one million child sexual exploitation photos and videos have been identified."

Police say the suspects were sharing "vast collections" of the illegal material over peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

"These investigations demonstrate the pervasiveness of online trading that is taking place across Alberta," said Det. Justin Brooks with ALERT's ICE unit.

"Every day, thousands of child sex abuse images and videos are being viewed, downloaded and shared throughout the province."

More than 35 computers and devices were seized by police during Operation ICE Storm 5, resulting in terabytes – or billions of bytes of data – for forensic technicians to analyze.

The following suspects were arrested and each faces charges of possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography and making child pornography available to others:

  • Claudio Foglia, 60, of Calgary;
  • Warren Flemming, 40, of Calgary;
  • Craig Drumgold, 49, of Calgary;
  • Tyler Sartison, 54, of Calgary;
  • Derek Eichele, 59, of Calgary;
  • Chris Jenkins, 31 of Coalhurst, Alta.;
  • Thomas Weatherhead, 51, of Calgary; and
  • Jesse Carlson-Lepage, 35, of Calgary.

Brooks says the suspects targeted in the sting had the largest amount of images in their possession and it depicted the "most graphic content."

"Our investigators deployed a variety of sophisticated techniques in order to facilitate these arrests," he said.

Some of the images and videos seized in the investigation involved victims as young as six months old, Brooks said.

"Every one of those images or videos represents a victim – think about that. All around the world right now, there are children being abused and forced to commit despicable acts."


Acting Insp. Dominic Mayhew, who oversees the ICE unit, stresses the importance of a parent's role in online safety.

"While I am delighted with the success of Operation ICE Storm 5, the reality is these arrests do very little to stem internet child exploitation.

"Despite our unit's commitment and expertise, over the last five years, the number of case files to our unit has increased by nearly 200 per cent."

Mayhew says with school out for the summer, it is critical for parents to know what to do to protect their children while online.

"This is more than a policing issue," he said. "We need parents, teachers, coaches (and) family members to educate themselves and become more involved in what your kids are doing online."

Brooks says the proliferation of social media plays a big role in how easily children can become exploited online.

"They're on there for legitimate purposes of their own, however, people who are predatory in nature, they also know where the children are."

He suggests parents take steps to protect their children and watch for any warning signs in their behaviour.

"As a parent, it's your job to know what your children are doing online. (You should) not be afraid to talk to your children and get access to their devices."

ICE investigators do not believe any of the victims are from Alberta and it is unlikely that any of the offences depicted in the photos were committed here.

Anyone with information about this case or any other child exploitation offence is asked to contact police or go to Top Stories

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