Eric Eoin Marques, ‘Kingpin of child porn’ pleads guilty

Eric Eoin Marques, dubbed “the Kingpin of Child Porn pleads Guilty in Maryland Federal court – A man dubbed “the kingpin of child porn” pleaded guilty Thursday in a Maryland federal court to operating a web server that hosted more than 8.5 million images of child pornography.

Eric Eoin Marques
Maryland Federal Court in Greenbelt

Eric Eoin Marques, 33, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland, copped to one count of conspiracy to advertising child pornography.

Marques faces between 15 years and 30 years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 11 in Greenbelt.

Prosecutors said they will ask for a sentence ranging between 15 years and 21 years, although U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang can depart from that recommendation.

“This is an egregious case where one individual facilitated the abuse of more than a million new child victims and attempted to keep the abuse hidden on the dark web,” said Robert K. Hur, U.S. Attorney for Maryland.

Marques admitted that between July 2008 and July 2013, he operated an anonymous web hosting service on a network on the “dark web.” The service allowed users to access view and share images of child pornography without disclosing their IP addresses, thus remaining anonymous and untraceable.

Of the 8.5 million images or videos hosted on the server, nearly 2 million involved victims not previously known to law enforcement. Images included the abuse of “prepubescent minors, violent sexual abuse and bestiality,” prosecutors said.

In July 2013, FBI agents in Maryland accessed Marques network and were able to view a child pornography bulletin board with more than 7,700 members and more than 22,000 posts, according to court documents.

An additional 1 million files were downloaded from another website on the same server, prosecutors said.

Marques was arrested in 2013 while living with his father in Dublin. He remained in Irish custody, although authorities in that country did not charge him with a crime.

He fought extradition to the United States for six years, before losing that battle in March 2019. U.S. officials formally charged him with crimes one month after his extradition.

During the extradition proceedings, an FBI agent called Marques “the largest facilitator of child pornography on the planet.”

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