A 58-year-old man from Long Beach, California, has been sentenced to four years in prison for using the dark web to download vile images and child pornography. Christopher Norman Strinden, the culprit, was sentenced on Monday by U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner. In addition to the prison sentence, he was also handed a lifetime supervised release and a $5,000 special assessment fee.

The Long Beach native pleaded guilty to possession of over 17,000 vile images of children under 12 years, which included toddlers. Strinden confessed that he obtained his vile images and child pornography on one of the biggest and now-defunct dark web child pornography marketplace, Playpen, which was taken down by law enforcement in February 2015.

Vile images

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Strinden was charged with three federal counts of possessing child pornography back in September last year. The culprit was part of eight men who were arrested by federal agents in Los Angeles on October 4, on child exploitation and pornography-related cases. The eight culprits were captured over ten days as a result of an investigation led by Project Safe Childhood , an initiative by the Justice department which targets sexual predators, exploitation, and abuse of children.

The other culprits arrested together with Strinden included 36-year-old Nestor Ramirez, of South Los Angeles, 27-year-old Nathan Pham of Long Beach, Kenneth Rudy Smith 31 of Lawndale, 19-year-old Justin Schobey of Canyon Country, Jorge De Los Santos, 31, of South Los Angeles, 30-year-old Fernando Vazquez Garcia, of South Los Angeles and Victor Manuel Diaz Romo, 53, of Lawndale. All of these men were engaged in downloading vile images and child pornography on the dark web.

Nestor Ramirez and Victor Manuel Diaz were charged with production, distribution, and possession of child pornography, of which both culprits pleaded not guilty. Nathan Pham was also charged with possession and receipt of child pornography obtained over a peer-to-peer network. He also entered into not guilty pleas to all charges against him.

Justin Schobey was alleged to have forced a minor in another state to produce pornography, via text messages. He was also charged with production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. De Los Santos was also charged with one count of possession of child pornography and two counts of receipt of child pornography. According to federal agents, De Los Santos used the dark web to search and download vile images of young boys, as well as videos of young boys getting sexually abused.

Vile images

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Kenneth Smith was charged with one count of possession of child pornography after federal agents obtained evidence at his home during a search. Fernando Vazquez Garcia was also charged with possession of child pornography over a file-sharing network as well as receipt of child pornography. All of these culprits also pleaded not guilty to charges against them.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna, speaking at the time of the arrest, stated that most of these acts were of vulnerable children, and now most of them will still be victimized as the vile images of their abuse are still spread and scattered across the dark web. She added that the so-called anonymity of the dark web would not prevent them from hunting down and prosecuting child predators.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Chemerinsky, a restitution hearing has been scheduled on December 9 for Strinden, during the closed sentencing hearing in Los Angeles federal court.

Source: Signal Tribune Newspaper


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