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Hardcore child porn sweep nets Ukrainian extradited from Thailand

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: One of the largest takedowns of hardcore child pornography distribution in history has led to the arrest and extradition from Thailand of a Ukrainian citizen who the government said sold images from his website to U.S. citizens in New Jersey and elsewhere, making millions of dollars.

Maksym Shynkarenko arrested in 2008
(UPDATE): A Ukrainian citizen charged by federal authorities in New Jersey with operating a website that sold images of children being sexually abused offered customers ways of evading detection, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said today, but it didn’t work. Hundreds of arrests were made, including several of people caught and convicted of molesting children. READ MORE….


Maksym Shynkarenko
was due in U.S. District Court in Newark this afternoon. He was brought here on Sunday by U.S. Marshals after losing a three-year fight to prevent extradition.

An indictment charging him with various crimes was unsealed this morning, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

The charges, including trafficking in kiddie porn and money laundering, are part of a years-long investigation, first dubbed “Operation Emissary,” which has led to more than 560 convictions in 47 states.

Authorities say Shynkarenko, 33, was able to operate with virtual impunity out of the Ukraine, long a leading source of child pornography, because of the country’s lax law enforcement against pedophiles, as well as its rampant political corruption.

The poor economy was a contributor, as well. Food or candy reportedly was often good enough to get a child to participate in the production of hardcore photos or videos. Some of the material was even sold openly on the street.

A 2008 human rights report by the U.S. State Department said the “commercial sexual exploitation of children remained a serious problem” in the Ukraine. “According to domestic and foreign law enforcement officials, a significant portion of Internet child pornography continued to originate from the country.

“Corruption in the judiciary and police continued to impede the government’s ability to combat trafficking,” the State Department said. “[L]ocal police and border guards took bribes to ignore trafficking, and judges did so in return for lighter sentences.

“The low number of prosecutions of officials for trafficking related corruption raised questions about the government’s willingness to take serious disciplinary action, especially against high level officials. Anti-trafficking experts noted that prosecutors were often the weakest link in the fight against trafficking due to their negative stereotypes of victims and their failure to prosecute aggressively.”

Thai authorities originally detained Shynkarenko in Bangkok in January 2009 after he was seized, as part of an ICE investigation that began two years earelier, at a villa he leased on a Phuket beach. Thailand has long been notorious as a haven of sex tourism, particularly involving minors.

“Operation Emissary,” which employed cutting edge investigative techniques, netted hundreds of people, including teachers, doctors, police, prison guards, and members of the military who pleaded guilty or were convicted. Dozens of child molesters were caught, as well.

Leading the way was the U.S. Attorney Office for New Jersey, based in Newark.






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