Brazilian police continued their nationwide crackdown on pedophiles with the arrest Wednesday of three men on charges of exchanging child pornography on the Internet, authorities said.
The arrests are part of "Operation Guardian Angel," a dragnet launched in June after federal agents in eight states seized computers, tapes, CDs and other material with information pointing to the existence of a virtual network of child pornographers and pedophiles, the Brazilian federal police said in a statement.
Authorities did not immediately release the identities of the men, but said they allegedly belong to the pornography network unveiled by police nearly three months ago.
A computer with 9,000 photos and 400 videos of children and teenagers being abused was allegedly found with one of the men, police said.
Authorities were led to the suspects after the June 7 arrest of Anderson Luiz Juliano Borges Costa, a 33-year-old martial arts professor accused of sexually abusing more than 20 children and exchanging the photos with other possible pedophiles on the Internet, police said.
Authorities allegedly found 167 CDs with about 250,000 photos of child pornography at Costa's house in Volta Redonda, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Sao Paulo, police said.
Costa has denied abusing the children, police said.
The investigation that led to "Operation Guardian Angel" began more than a year ago when Spanish police discovered that Brazilians were sending child pornography photos to an Internet site in Spain, police said.
Evidence showed that Costa and 100 others accessed the same site in Spain to allegedly exchange and download pornography.
The federal prosecutor's office has said Costa could be sentenced up to 256 years in prison if found guilty of abusing the children.
The four men arrested Wednesday face up to six years in prison if found guilty of exchanging child pornography, authorities said.
No other arrests have been made yet, police said, AP reported.