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Dark Web Child Porn Facilitator Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Advertise Child Pornography | Takeover bid

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A dual US and Irish national was sentenced yesterday to 324 months, or 27 years, in federal prison, followed by life on probation for conspiracy to advertise pornography juvenile.

Eric Eoin Marques, 36, of Dublin, Ireland, pleaded guilty on February 6, 2020 to conspiring to advertise child pornography. According to court documents, between July 24, 2008 and July 29, 2013, Marques operated a free anonymous hosting service located on the dark web, an area of ​​the Internet that is only accessible through software. special, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable. The hosting service hosted websites that allowed users to view and share images documenting child sexual abuse, including abuse of prepubescent minors and violent sexual abuse. The investigation found that the hosting service contained more than 200 child exploitation websites that housed millions of images of child exploitation material. Over 1.97 million of these images and / or videos were previously unknown to law enforcement. Many of these images involved sadistic abuse of infants and toddlers.

“The accused’s web service anonymously hosted hundreds of insidious criminal communities dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children, who openly and notoriously disseminated millions of images of child sexual abuse across the world. “said Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of Justice. Criminal Division of the Department. “This complex global investigation, the long and successful extradition and the heavy prison sentence are proof of the unswerving and unwavering commitment of the ministry to identify and bring to justice the criminals who hide behind anonymous networks to abuse and exploit the children of the world. “

“Eric Marques was one of the greatest facilitators of child pornography in the world,” said Acting US Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner for the District of Maryland. “This is a glaring case where one person hosted and helped others share millions of horrific images and videos of child abuse, over a million of which were previously unknown. law enforcement, and attempted to keep the abuse hidden on the dark web. . We are grateful to our law enforcement partners at home and abroad for helping us bring Eric Marques to justice. We will continue to do all we can to find and prosecute those who use the anonymity of the Internet to perpetuate the cruel and ruthless business of child sexual abuse. “

“Eric Marques’ conviction today sends a clear message to the perpetrators of this blatant crime that wherever you are in the world law enforcement will hold you accountable and bring you to justice,” said the director. Deputy Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division. . “The FBI is fighting crimes against children and defending vulnerable children around the world. “

“Europol is pleased to have played its part in one of the most important investigations ever into the sexual abuse of children,” said Edvardas Šileris, director of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center. “I applaud the excellent work of the FBI and our many other law enforcement partners in Europe and beyond for their global cooperation in tackling this most heinous crime and bringing this dangerous individual to trial. in court. Ensuring the safety of children by identifying those who have been victimized and educating children to avoid these harms remains a top priority for Europol. “

As described in public documents, this case was part of a landmark global investigation that targeted thousands of users of more than 200 websites operating on the Tor network dedicated to the child pornography business. The Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), the FBI and Europol designed and carried out a coordinated global criminal investigation of then unprecedented scale, which brought to light pooled the resources of more than a dozen countries that have deployed more than 70 law enforcement officers to Europol, which served as a hub for operational support, facilities and information sharing. As a result of this investigation, over 200 child sexual exploitation websites were taken offline (along with hundreds of other sites sponsoring or facilitating criminal activity); the activities of tens of thousands of online child pornographers have been disrupted; over four million child sexual abuse images and videos have been captured (including over 100 previously unknown child sexual abuse image sets and new images from over 50 existing series) ; and dozens of offenders have been identified and prosecuted around the world.

The FBI’s Violent Crimes Section, the Operational Unit Against Child Exploitation and the International Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation with significant assistance from the London Office of the Legal Attaché. , An Garda Síochána and Europol. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided considerable assistance in bringing Marques to the United States and obtaining foreign evidence during the investigation.

Deputy Chief Keith A. Becker and CEOS Trial Attorney Ralph Paradiso and Maryland District Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Sullivan continued the case.

This case was brought within the framework of the Safe Childhood Project, a national initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. prosecutors’ offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information on the Safe Childhood Project, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.


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