Thirteen men are in custody after police busted an alleged online pedophile ring in six Quebec cities and Toronto following a three-year investigation.

Police were executing warrants Wednesday morning at homes in:

  • Montreal.
  • Quebec City.
  • Lévis.
  • Trois-Rivières.
  • Saint-Eustache.
  • Richelieu-Saint-Laurent.
  • Toronto.

The men in custody are between 27 and 74 years old and could face charges linked to the sexual exploitation of children.

At least one of those detained was a man arrested in Toronto.

Sûreté du Québec spokeswoman Sgt. Melanie Dumaresq said the man could appear in court in Montreal alongside the others, either today or Thursday.

She said the arrests targeted private residences, and investigators removed computers from the homes.  

​"Seizures were made in the houses where the suspects live. Computers were seized and their contents will be analyzed," Dumaresq said.

RAW: SQ spokeswoman on Operation Malaise0:30

3-year investigation

According to Quebec provincial police, which led the investigation, the individuals allegedly exchanged information about their sexual experiences with children in online discussion forums. 

They are also alleged to have discussed tactics and locations where sexual contact with children could take place.

More than 150 officers from Quebec and Ontario have been involved in the operation, dubbed Operation Malaise.

Wednesday's arrests follow an investigation that began in 2013 following tips from the public.

Dumaresq said the investigation is ongoing and there could be more arrests.