In a shocking case reminiscent of the Rotherham child sex abuse ring, British police say they have made 461 arrests and have identified at least 278 victims of a massive sex, prostitution, and drug ring. Of those arrested, authorities have tried 26 defendants. The BBC reports that most of those convicted so far of serious charges are "Asian," the British term for those from the Middle East, Pakistan and India.

As a result of a massive ongoing investigation the police have named "Operation Sanctuary," one British woman and a total of 17 men have been convicted of rape, conspiracy to incite prostitution, and illegally supplying drugs. The men, BBC notes, were from the "Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born, with most living in the West End of Newcastle."

The convictions came after four trials involving 26 defendants facing over 100 charges for actions against 22 young female victims — some as young as 14 — and whom the prosecution described as "vulnerable" and "at-risk." A total of 20 of the victims gave evidence. The heinous series of crimes were committed between 2011 and 2014.

Of the 26, three people have been jailed. The rest will be sentenced next month.

"There has been no political correctness here," Chief Constable Steve Ashman said Wednesday. "These are criminals and there has been no hesitation in arresting them and targeting them using all the means at our disposal."

"We have not and will not stop," he said.

BBC describes how the shocking sex and drug trafficking ring operated:

The victims were at first flattered by the attention of the men who apparently befriended them, but were then lured to parties, known as "sessions", by the promise of alcohol and drugs — often mephedrone (or M-Kat), Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Bags of M-Kat were left on coffee tables for the girls to help themselves.

The parties took place at premises around the West End, including the top floor of tower block Todd's Nook, where one teenager said she was raped three times.

The prosecution said they became the "vulnerable victims of an organised, cynical, systematic organisation in which they were passed between their abusers."

The victims described being lured into sex "sessions" through drugs and alcohol. Some of the victims became addicted to the drugs, for which they were coerced to perform sex acts to receive them from the men. At times, one said, they would be "too intoxicated" to resist being raped. One girl described meeting a frightened woman whom she believed to be a sex slave and another described being locked into a room and forced to have sex in order to leave.

The Daily Mail notes that at least one of the men convicted appeared to have been partly motivated by anti-white racism:

The court heard that one of the men convicted, 37-year-old Badrul Hussain, was heard telling a ticket collector on the Tyne and Wear Metro: "All white women are good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash, that is all women like you are worth."

"These were vile crimes committed by evil men," said Council leader Nick Forbes. "The victims ... have been brave beyond belief and undoubtedly have made our city safer."

One controversial tactic the police team used in their efforts to expose the ring was paying a convicted child rapist £10,000 to act as an informant.

Police say the investigation is still ongoing and that they "have spoken to 703 potential complainants and 278 victims have been identified," BBC reports.

Below is the list of the 17 men and one woman thus far convicted for the child sex network as well as their mugshots (via BBC/Daily Mail):

  • Mohammed Azram, 35, of Croydon Road, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, sexual assault, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Jahanghir Zaman, 43, of Hadrian Road, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, rape, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Nashir Uddin, 35, of Joan Street, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Saiful Islam, 34, of Strathmore Crescent, convicted of rape. Jailed for 10 years
  • Mohammed Hassan Ali, 33, of Bentinck Street, convicted of sexual activity with a child, supplying drugs to a victim. Jailed for seven years
  • Yasser Hussain, 27, of Canning Street, convicted of beating, possession of drugs. Jailed for two years
  • Abdul Sabe, 40, of Dean House, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation, drugs offences
  • Habibur Rahim, 34, of Kenilworth Road, convicted of causing or inciting prostitution, drugs, sexual assault, trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation
  • Badrul Hussain, 37, of Drybeck Court, convicted of drug offences
  • Mohibur Rahman, 44, of Northcote Street, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to incite prostitution, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Abdulhamid Minoyee, 33, of Gainsborough Grove, convicted of rape, sexual assault, supply of drugs
  • Carolann Gallon, 22, of Hareside Court, pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking
  • Monjour Choudhury, 33, of Phillip Place, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Prabhat Nelli, 33, of Sidney Grove, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Eisa Mousavi, 41, of Todds Nook, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, rape, supplying drugs to a victim
  • Taherul Alam, 32, of Normanton Terrace, convicted of conspiracy to incite prostitution, supplying drugs to a victim, attempted sexual assault
  • Nadeem Aslam, 43, of Belle Grove West, convicted of supplying drugs to victims
  • Redwan Siddquee, 32, of West Road, pleaded guilty to causing or inciting prostitution, supply or offering to supply a class B