Man Called Largest Child Porn Purveyor Gets 27-Year Sentence | Maryland News

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A person described by U.S. authorities because the world’s most prolific purveyor of kid pornography on the time of his arrest in Ireland was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 years in federal jail.

Eric Eoin Marques created and operated pc servers on the darkish net that enabled customers to anonymously entry thousands and thousands of illicit pictures and movies, many depicting the rape and torture of infants and toddlers. Law enforcement had by no means seen lots of these pictures earlier than discovering them on Marques’ servers, in keeping with prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang informed Marques that his crimes had been the equal of these of a drug kingpin.

“This crime was truly despicable,” Chuang mentioned.

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Prior to studying his sentence, Marques apologized to the victims and requested for mercy from the courtroom.

“I have destroyed my reputation and my family’s reputation. Please give me a second chance,” he informed Chuang.

The decide agreed to suggest that the Federal Bureau of Prisons give Marques credit score for eight years he has served in custody each in Ireland and the U.S. since his 2013 arrest. The decide additionally ordered him to pay restitution of $87,000 to victims of the kid pornography that he helped distribute.

The unique model of the plea settlement between Marques and prosecutors known as for a jail sentence of 15 to 21 years.

Chuang rejected that deal throughout a listening to in May, calling it “too flawed” and saying he was inclined to present Marques an extended sentence than 15 to 21 years.

The revised settlement advisable a jail sentence between 21 and 27 years, however Chuang wasn’t certain by these phrases.

Prosecutors advisable a 27-year sentence with lifetime supervision after his launch.

“It goes without saying that the crimes committed by (Marques) are without parallel,” prosecutors wrote, saying he “created a ‘safe place’ for child sexual abusers to meet and share images, videos, to encourage, to promote and discuss the sexual abuse of children, to include infants.”

Defense attorneys mentioned a 21-year sentence can be “fair and just” for Marques, a twin citizen of the U.S. and Ireland. His attorneys additionally requested Chuang to permit Marques to return to Ireland after he completes his jail sentence.

“No punishment can undo the harms reaped upon the victims of child pornography,” they wrote. “However, the Court must mete out a sentence that weighs that harm among many other factors.”

The unique plea deal wouldn’t have given Marques credit score for the time he spent in custody whereas preventing extradition after his 2013 arrest in Dublin. But Chuang criticized that provision. The decide mentioned in May that he can’t inform the Federal Bureau of Prisons to chorus from counting these years when Marques probably was entitled to get credit score for that point.

Marques pleaded responsible in February 2020 to creating and working a internet hosting service known as “Freedom Hosting” on the darknet between 2008 and 2013. The darknet is a part of the web however hosted inside an encrypted community. It is accessible solely by means of anonymity-providing instruments.

Investigators discovered what gave the impression to be greater than 8.5 million pictures and movies of kid pornography on the Freedom Hosting server, in keeping with a courtroom submitting that accompanied Marques’ responsible plea.

Marques was dwelling in Ireland on the time of the offenses. He was extradited to Maryland in March 2019. He pleaded responsible to conspiracy to promote baby pornography.

In an April courtroom submitting, a prosecutor mentioned a authorities witness was ready to testify that investigators had recognized Marques as the most important purveyor of kid pornography on the earth and that he had made roughly $3.6 million in U.S. foreign money from his servers.

Marques’ attorneys say he made cash from his reputable web-hosting providers, not Freedom Hosting.

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