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Alleged buyers of child porn videos charged

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US and Russian officials have arrested nine people in connection with a Website suspected of selling hundreds of child porn videos worldwide.

US customs worked with Moscow City Police for Operation Blue Orchid (named after the site), which resulted in five arrests in Russian and four in the US, US Customs said.

The Russian site, which has been shut down, was used to sell and promote videos priced between $200 and $300. The majority were shipped to the US.

Buyers would wire cash and then email delivery instructions for the videos. They were then sent out via private courier or by the normal postal service.

"The United States Customs Service is working aggressively with law enforcement officials both here and abroad in making a worldwide assault on the producers, distributors and purchasers of child pornography sold over the Internet," said acting US Customs Commissioner Charles Winwood in a statement.

The joint operation began last May, and an undercover purchase of a tape from the site led police to Vsevolod Solntsev-Elbe, one of the alleged site operators. Elbe was arrested in December after 400 videos, video copying equipment and sales and shipping records were found in his apartment.

The trail eventually let officials to those involved in making the videos sold on the site. Arrests included one 'actor', Aleksei Tormazov, who was arrested last week, and cameraman Yui Arkhipov, who committed suicide after being arrested on February 27, AP reported.

The investigation also helped police track down alleged buyers of the videos. Derek Lochiatto, of Massachusetts, appeared in federal court today on charges of attempting to receive child porn from the site and of possession of similar material obtained via the Net. ®

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US Customs statement

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