child abuse paedophilia
As many as 150,000 documents, containing disturbing images of children, were investigated iStock

Brazil police have arrested more than 100 paedophiles across the country in one of the biggest such operations in Latin America. Over 1,000 agents from various law enforcement agents took part in the raids with participation from US authorities as well.

All the paedophiles were taken into custody in 24 states at the culmination of a nearly six-month-long investigation. As many as 150,000 documents, containing pornographic images of children were analysed by investigators led by Brazil's intelligence establishment.

"This investigation was the result of an international effort, together with the United States and several countries in Europe, such as Spain and the United Kingdom," local reports quoted Brazil's Justice Minister Torquato Jardim as saying. "They store their illegal, criminal photos in a computer of someone in another part of the country or even abroad. And often the people storing the content are unaware," said the minister.

Images of the children were shared by the suspects via computers and smartphones. Some of the suspects even had access to the dark web. In total, 178 search warrants were issued by the police.

Some of those arrested include former police officers and government officials. More arrests could take place in the near future as the investigation expands, the justice ministry said. Both individuals and criminal gangs were involved in the wide paedophilia network.

"The complex internet environment and the absence of borders in the virtual world are elements that provide fertile grounds for the actions of these criminals," the ministry said in a statement.