Arrests made in Canada included seven in Toronto along with other arrests in Ottawa, Edmonton, Belleville, Thunder Bay, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Saskatoon.
Det. -Const. Janelle Blackadar explained that Toronto Police were contacted by the U.K.'s National Crime Agency after their 2014 discovery of a group of offenders who were involved in child sex abuse online, one of whom was a Toronto resident.
Toronto police subsequently launched an undercover investigation, during which Blackadar says officers "observed the live abuse of a six-year-old child over the internet" in July of 2015.
In March 2016, the Toronto police exploitation unit discovered sexual abuse material involving an eight-year-old child and advertisements online. Janelle Blackadar says the investigation started in 2014, when United Kingdom authorities informed the TPS and other agencies of an online group allegedly involved in the sexual exploitation of children in several countries.
Graham Ellis of the U.K's National Crime Agency told reporters that many of those arrested as part of the investigation were people who had occupied positions of trust.
Police identified the suspect as Paul Edward Acton Bowen and said he is the founder of the Acton Bowen Outreach Ministries.
"The sexual abuse ... occurred not only for the sexual gratification of the abuser himself, but also to satisfy requests from those online who then actively encouraged the abuse while it was happening live", she said.
Police in Toronto launched an undercover investigation in January 2015, after the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom alerted police agencies around the world of an online group "using various social networking platforms" to distribute child abuse material, said Toronto Police Det. The alleged abuser was identified as a Pennsylvania resident. The man, identified in an undercover investigation as Mark Leonard, 41, of Toronto, has since been convicted.
Moore was sentenced to nine years in prison and placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday.
In all, Project Mercury involved 23 USA states, as well as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and Slovenia.