HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A Huntsville man and hundreds of others were charged worldwide in the take down of the largest darknet child pornography website which was funded by bitcoin.
In March of 2018, we told you that 29-year-old Ryan Thomas Carver of Huntsville was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. According to court documents, Carver has already entered a guilty plea in federal court. In those documents, he admits to having over 160 child porn videos and 3,000 child porn imagines on his computer and flash drives. He’s awaiting sentencing.
According to the new federal indictment, Carver was one of hundreds of people who visited a video sharing site on the so-called “dark web”. That’s a subsection of the internet not accessible through traditional web browsers. Screenshots of the site from the prosecutors show that members paid in Bitcoin to download videos, upload videos and chat with other pedophiles.
“Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior. This Administration will not allow child predators to use lawless online spaces as a shield. Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to working closely with our partners in South Korea and around the world to rescue child victims and bring to justice the perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
According to the indictment, on March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested 23-year-old Jong Woo Son, a South Korean national, who was also indicted.
Agents seized the server that Son used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download by members of the site. The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind.
The agencies have shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world. The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States. Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.