Eighteen people in Quebec were arrested on child pornography charges during a four-month-long investigation led by the RCMP in co-operation with local police forces.

Operation Snapshot 3 resulted in the rescue of five prepubescent Canadian children — one being from Quebec — from sexual exploitation.

IP addresses accessing child pornography

Red dots on this RCMP computer map represent internet addresses identified as a hub of activity for child pornography. (CBC)

Sgt. Michael Petrilli of the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children said that across the country, 150 people have either been charged or remain under investigation in an operation targeting online predators. 

Operation Snapshot involved 40 police agencies across Canada and included 167 investigations by hundreds of officers over several months.

Petrilli said police forces across the country executed search warrants and arrested suspects in their own jurisdictions over the course of the investigation.

In Quebec, the Sûreté du Québec arrested 11 people. Seven additional arrests were made by regional police forces in Montreal, Quebec City, Laval and Longueuil.

A total of 343 charges of child sex assault, luring, possessing, distributing and making available child pornography were laid following the execution of Operation Snapshot 3. 

Police seized more than a million images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children, from Canada and around the world.

Petrilli said now officers are tasked with the job of sifting through terabytes of imagery and information in the search for perpetrators, victims and crime scenes.

Insp. Bob Resch of the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children said these images were "not simply children having a bubble bath."  He said they are clearly children, including infants and toddlers, being sexually assaulted. 

Operation Snapshot 3 follows two similar investigations led by the RCMP in the Prairies and the North. as well as Atlantic Canada, in 2012 and 2013.