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Courtenay man arrested in child-porn investigation

Nov 11 2011

A 23-year-old Courtenay man faces charges in connection with an international investigation into child pornography.

Kevin Myrfield is charged with five counts of possessing child pornography and four counts of importing or distributing child pornography available.

The alleged offences took place between Dec. 13, 2009, and June 23, 2011.

He was set to appear in court Thursday but a lawyer, acting on his behalf, adjourned the case to Feb. 14.

Victoria police and Courtenay RCMP arrested Myrfield in Courtenay on June 23 during the search of a home in the 3100 block of Royal Vista Way. Police seized computers, hard drives and other electronics.

The arrest was part of a sweeping child porn investigation called Project Sanctuary sparked by Toronto police in 2010.

Sgt. Todd Wellman, from Victoria police's special victims unit, explained why it took police more than four months to make the arrest public. Wellman said after Myrfield's arrest, he was released on a promise to appear in court, which gave police time to analyze his computer and gather evidence for their investigation.

Police forwarded charges in August and the Crown approved them in November in advance of his court appearance, Wellman said.

"Because they're extremely sensitive investigations, we like to have the evidence before making it public," he said.

In December 2010, Toronto police announced that 57 people had been arrested across the world, including 25 Canadians. Thirteen Canadian police departments were involved, along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and several other security agencies.

"Initial arrests uncovered a global network of men, now accused of trading in child porn and, in some cases, abusing children themselves," Victoria police said in a statement.

Myrfield lived in Victoria at the beginning of the investigation, which is why the department's special victims unit was contacted by Toronto police and the RCMP'S integrated child exploitation unit.

There were no other arrests on the Island in relation to Project Sanctuary, but the evidence gathered has sparked other investigations, Wellman said.

"There are still ongoing files stemming from that initial investigation," he said. "Whenever we get these types of files, there is always the potential to identify more people creating or sharing child abuse images."

kderosa@timescolonist.com

— with files from Louise Dickson

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