(Montreal) Five individuals who allegedly took part in a “hunt” for suspected pedophiles in recent months were arrested in Gatineau on Thursday and face multiple charges including, ironically, distribution of child pornography.

The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) said it had been made aware that a phenomenon of “pedophile hunters” was taking place on its territory in January.

Since the appearance of the phenomenon, the police force indicates that it has received a dozen complaints from citizens concerned about the situation or having been victims of an offense in connection with the actions of the group.

The modus operandi of the suspects was to post photos of minors on dating apps like Tinder or Grinder to lure alleged pedophiles.

“It’s so easy, it’s excruciatingly disgusting. I can tell you that I’m talking over 75 people who are willing to fuck a 14 year old. It’s awful, “described one of the movement’s initiators, Joey Chartrand, 25, in an interview with 104.7 FM, in Outaouais, at the end of January.

The members of the group, who called themselves “paedobusters”, then went to meet these people lured on these applications to confront them. People trapped in this way would have finally filed a complaint against the group.

Moreover, their modus operandi was illegal in itself. “There have been exchanges of photos during [online] conversations and what the law says, when you share a photo, it’s explicit pornographic material and you claim it represents a person of age minor, even if it really isn’t, it becomes child pornography. It is considered as such, even if in truth it does not really represent the body of a minor, “said agent Andrée East, of the SPVG, in an interview with La Presse Canadienne.

Moreover, the SPVG discourages such initiatives “considering the risks incurred for the people who participate in them”.

“The SPVG recalls that under no circumstances can a person take justice into their own hands, even if they are the victim of a crime, whatever it may be,” it says, adding that the instigator of this movement.

No less than thirty-eight counts have been authorized by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) against the five individuals targeted by this police operation.

Joey Chartrand, Jessy Chartrand, 27, Normand Philip Payant, 26, André Chevalier-Robitaille, 40, and Liam Georges Dupont, 24, will face charges of distributing child pornography, criminal harassment, intimidation and kidnapping.

Search warrants executed as part of this operation also led to the seizure of computer equipment, improperly stored firearms and a small amount of cannabis.

The five individuals will remain detained until their appearance before the Court of Quebec, which should take place on Thursday.