Dark Web Child Porn Facilitator Sentenced to 27 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Advertise Child Pornography | USAO-MD

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green belt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang today sentenced Eric Eoin Marques, 36, of Dublin, Ireland, to 27 years in federal prison, on life supervised release, for conspiring to do advertising of child pornography on the dark web. Marques, who has dual American and Irish citizenship, pleaded guilty to the charge on February 6, 2020, after being extradited by Irish authorities. Marques arrived in the United States on March 23, 2019 to face federal criminal charges filed in Maryland on August 8, 2013.

According to his plea agreement, between July 24, 2008 and July 29, 2013, Marques conspired to advertise child pornography by operating a free and anonymous web hosting service (AHS) located on the “dark web. », An area of ​​the Internet that is accessible only through special software, allowing users and operators of websites to remain anonymous or untraceable. The defendant’s hosting service hosted websites that allowed users to view and share images documenting child sexual abuse, including abuse of prepubescent minors, violent sexual abuse, and bestiality. The investigation found that the hosting service contained more than 200 child exploitation websites that housed millions of images of child exploitation material. More than 1.97 million of these images and / or videos involved victims who were not previously known to law enforcement. Many of these images involved sadistic abuse of infants and toddlers, including bondage, bestiality, and humiliation, including urination, defecation, and vomiting.

The sentence was announced by the Acting United States Attorney General for the District of Maryland, Jonathan F. Lenzner; Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; and Deputy Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division.

“Eric Marques was one of the greatest facilitators of child pornography in the world,” said Jonathan F. Lenzner, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. “This is a blatant case where one person facilitated the abuse of over a million new child victims 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 our utmost to find and prosecute those who use the anonymity of the Internet to perpetuate the cruel and heartless business of child sexual abuse for personal gain, in order to protect our children. “

“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. FBI Assistant Calvin Shivers. “The FBI is fighting crimes against children and defending vulnerable children around the world. “

In 2012 and 2013, Special Agents and FBI employees using computers in Maryland downloaded over a million files from this website. As part of the investigation, these records were reviewed and almost all of the records depict children engaging in sexually explicit behaviors with adults or other children, posed nude and / or in such a way as to expose their genitals. , in various states to undress or represent the eroticism of a child. A large majority of the images uploaded by the FBI depict prepubertal underage children who are fully or partially naked or engage in sexually explicit behavior.

Marques admitted in his guilty plea that this offense also involved the distribution of child pornography, involving minors under the age of twelve, including infants and toddlers, and sadistic or masochistic material or depictions of violence. Marques further admits that he willfully obstructed or obstructed the administration of justice in relation to the investigation of this offense.

The Trademark accusation 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 highlighted 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.

This case was brought up as part of the Safe Childhood Project, a national initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood brings together federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information on the Safe Childhood Project, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information on Internet Safety Education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the “Resources” tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. commended the FBI’s Violent Crime Section, the Child Exploitation Task Force and the International Task Force on violent crimes against children with extensive assistance from the London Legal Attaché’s office, Irish law enforcement authorities, 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.

Mr. Lenzner and Mr. Polite thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Sullivan, Deputy Chief Keith A. Becker and Trial Attorney Ralph Paradiso of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity section of the division. Criminal Justice Department, who prosecuted the federal case.

For more information on the Maryland US Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov / usao -md / community-awareness.

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