The Justice Department has announced that Over 300 people have been arrested in the aftermath of shutting down the world’s largest dark web child porn site. Federal investigators revealed that the dark web site had more than eight terabyte data of child porn, with 250,000 unique videos, which had been downloaded over a million times. The dark web child porn site also had over 1.3million customers across the globe who paid decent sums of money to get their hands on child abuse videos and images, with the site amassing over $730,000 in profits.

A nine-count indictment unsealed by U.S. federal officials stated that 337 pedophiles in the United States and 38 other countries have been arrested and charged with running the dark web child porn site. Among those detained, eight individuals were from Washington, D.C., and others across 24 states. Other arrests have been made in the I.K., South Korea, Canada, Czech Republic, Ireland, Germany, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, speaking at a press conference, stated that criminals who hide behind the dark web sites shouldn’t think they are free from law enforcement. He added that no matter which part of the dark web you hide, law enforcement officials will find, arrest, and prosecute you.

Image Source: www.metro.news

Federal agents traced the cryptocurrency transactions of the dark web child porn site to suspects of the crime and subsequently arrested them. Two users of the site were also reported dead after the search warrants were executed. According to the indictment, the dark web child porn site, posted and sold numerous graphic videos showing adults, sexually abusing children. Some of the victims of these acts were as young as two years old.

Reports also state that clients of the dark web child porn site could specify their kind of graphic videos, such as “preteen hardcore” and “pedophile,” using a search engine provided by the site. A joint task force, however, managed to save 23 victims, abused by the site‘s users and were rescued across Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, speaking on the arrests, stated that, “Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the vilest and reprehensible forms of criminal behaviour.” He added that the announcement shows that the Department of Justice is very serious in cracking down and arresting criminals on the dark web. “We are working assiduously with our law enforcement officials in South Korea and around the globe to rescue child victims and bring the criminals of these vile crimes to justice.

Jong-Woo Son, a 23-year old South Korean and the creator of the child porn site, was also indictment. Woo Son was first charged back in August 2018, with conspiracy to advertise, produce and distribute child abuse imagery and pornography, but the indictment was only unsealed on Wednesday. The South Korean created and operated the dark web child porn platform from his country and only accepted payment to the child porn site in Bitcoin. Woo Son was arrested in 2018 by South Korean authorities and seized all his servers. He is currently serving a prison sentence in his country.

The now-defunct dark web child porn site “Welcome to Video” was active online from June 2015 until it was shut down in March 2018, by U.S. authorities, with help from U.K. authorities.  According to reports, the child porn site managed to escape the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, a U.S. non-profit set up by congress to search for missing children and combat child exploitation on dark web sites.

Image source: www.digital.com

It was, however, uncovered by U.K. authorities after an investigation in the dark web pedophile Mathew Falder. The pedophile was arrested for abusing over 200 minors and posted the videos and images on the dark web. Falder, who was a Cambridge graduate, was described as one of Britain’s worst pedophiles. After his arrest, videos uncovered on his computer showed him manipulating his victims into performing vile physical and sexual acts.

In one of the videos uncovered by the police, Falder was seen forcing a teen to lick a toilet seat and eat dog food, while he stood there, laughing and also recording. The pedophile also posted pictures of a newborn baby being abused on a dark web market site. He pleaded guilty to 137 offences in 2017, including child rape, and was to sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Other suspects arrested include Kyle Fox, who was also sentenced to 22 years in prison after sexually abusing a girl aged three and posted in on the dark web. 40-year-old Richard Nikolai Gratkowsi, a former Homeland Security Agent from San Antonio, was also sentenced to five years, eight months in prison. The former agent admitted to receiving child porn and one count of access with intent to view it.

Source: USA Today


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