"In total, there were 51 people involved in multiple networks with branches throughout the country and even overseas. A large number of images, movies and chat logs have been seized and analyzed. Over the course of the operation, we found serious cases of abuse against children of all ages, even infants," Hilde Reikrås, who was responsible for operation Dark Room, told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK.
The case began to unravel after a 22-year-old man in the city of Bergen was detained for sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl. During the search, police confiscated images and video clips of hardcore child pornography. In the course of the inquiry, the total amount of seized data grew to 150 terabytes, in effect the largest seizure in the history of Norway.
"Several perpetrators were obviously familiar to their immediate environments. Family and friends reacted with shock when they were arrested. Perpetrators come from all walks of life, many of them have a higher education, possess high IT skills and have used encryption to hide their tracks," prosecutor Janne Ringset Heltne told NRK.
In the most chocking instance, there is evidence of a conspiracy to abuse a yet unborn child.
Most remarkably, the list of alleged perpetrators includes politicians for the Progress Party and the Labor Party, as well as a police officer.