GREENBELT, Maryland (WJZ) – Authorities have announced that Eric Eoin Marques, 36, has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison, followed by life supervised release for conspiring to advertise child pornography on the dark web.
According to authorities, millions of images of child exploitation material have been found and deleted from the hosting server.
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“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 glaring 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 enterprise of child sexual abuse for personal gain, in order to protect our children. “
Marques of Dublin, Ireland, has dual US citizenship. He pleaded guilty on February 6, 2020, after being extradited by Irish authorities. Marques arrived in the United States on March 23, 2019 to face federal charges filed in Maryland on August 8, 2013.
According to its plea agreement, from July 24, 2008 to July 29, 2013, Marques conspired to advertise child pornography by operating a free and anonymous web hosting server on the dark web – accessible only through a special software that allows users and the website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable.
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Officials said the accused’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.
Further investigation found that the hosting service contained over 200 child exploitation websites with millions of images of child exploitation material. More than 1.97 million of these images and videos involved victims who were not previously known to law enforcement.
Officials said many of the images involved sadistic abuse of infants and toddlers, including bondage, bestiality and humiliation, including urination, defecation and vomiting.
Marques admitted that the offense also involved the distribution of child pornography, which involved minors under the age of twelve, including infants and toddlers, and sadistic or masochistic material or depictions of violence.
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Marques also admitted to having willfully obstructed or obstructed the administration of justice in connection with the investigation of this offense.