Brazilian Federal Police arrested Tuesday 11 people in an operation to dismantle a ring that shared child pornography on social networks, authorities said.

A total of 230 agents took part in an operation ordered by a judge in the Amazonian state of Para to check computer files in the homes of 42 people suspected of belonging to the ring, Federal Police said in a communique.

In 11 of the 42 raids, police confirmed that the computers contined kiddie-porn material that was being shared on the Internet.

The operation included raids in Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's three most densely populated states, as well as in the Federal District of Brasilia and in states of Brazil's impoverished northeast such as Bahia, Ceara, Paraiba and Piaui.

"We still lack proof that they produced the material, but we know they store and share it, for which they will be charged with the crimes of storage and exchange of child pornography," inspector Patricia Bicalho, the officer in charge of the sweep, said.

Sentences for those offenses range from 3 to 6 years behind bars.

The investigation was opened last year when it was discovered that a ring was using a certain social network to exchange files of child pornography, Bicalho said.

Federal Police said that Tuesday's operation was the seventh this year to combat the spread of child pornography on the Internet, and that in 2014 some 400 investigations have been opened to fight that crime, compared with 1,500 in 2013. EFE