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The arrest of an online predator in New Zealand led to a 60-year jail term for a paedophile in the United States.Authorities in Houston, Texas, say the case is a "shining example" of how agencies around the world can work together in the fight against child abuse.
To boost his credibility he posed online as an adult with access to a young girl he could abuse, and as someone willing to exchange his images with others.READ MORE: * Kiwi man's raging interest in child sex leads police to global offenders * 17 children rescued after Drew Webb caught trading sex abuse images New Zealand authorities found out about his offending after an alert from an online video chat website in the US in August, 2014.As a result, staff from the Department of Internal Affairs raided his flat in Hanmer, where he was then working, and seized his cellphone and laptop.Sleuthing by Paul Duke, an investigator from Internal Affairs, then led to the arrest of Jesus Laporte, a 20-year-old from Houston, Texas.Laporte had used images sent by Webb to encourage a 6-year-old girl to participate in sexual activity.Duke said he took over accounts on Webb's phone and chatted directly with the US-based offender.
He then sent information he had gathered, including images of the victim and a likely identity and address for the abuser, to police in Houston.
Houston Police Department special victims division commander Sergeant Richard Hahn said investigators were able to identify the victim by showing a sanitised image of her to staff at a school near where Laporte lived.
Laporte, who was known to the victim's family, was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child. Separate investigations by police and customs uncovered further offending by Webb, who later admitted a raft of charges relating to the creation, possession and distribution of child sex abuse images.
At the Christchurch District Court last week he was jailed for six years.
The court heard the case had led to the rescue of 17 children overseas and the arrest of 11 adults, including caregivers, parents and a kindergarten teacher, who had traded images with Webb.
Hahn said it was a "shining example" of how agencies around the world can work together to fight child exploitation."I am very proud of my investigators who worked this case and my hats off to the New Zealand authorities for digging further and uncovering this ring of child predators.