Published: 2021-09-16 12:27
Last Updated: 2022-05-19 13:23
An Irishman, Eric Owen Marques, described as the largest purveyor of child pornography in the world, has been sentenced to 27 years in prison by a US Federal Court.
Irish authorities were able to reveal the identity of Marquez after using a hacking software which hacked his personal device.
Marques, 36, created and operated computer servers on the dark web that enabled users to anonymously access millions of illegal photos and videos, some of which involved the rape and torture of infants and toddlers.
An American Judge told Marques that his crimes were the equivalent of those of a drug kingpin.
“This crime was truly despicable,” the judge said.
Before his sentencing, Marques apologized to the victims and asked for mercy from the court.
“I have destroyed my reputation and my family's reputation. Please give me a second chance,” he told the judge.
Justice Department prosecutor Ralph Paradiso said Marques created an online community for sexual predators so they could anonymously abuse and exploit children and be able to share the horrific images that they created.
He continued, “They all got together and they sexually exploited children.”
“They reveled in that sexual exploitation.”
The judge agreed to count the eight years that Marques had spent in custody in both Ireland and the United States since his arrest in 2013, but fined him with USD 87,000 for the images of child abuse victims he helped spread.
In February 2020, Marques pleaded guilty to creating and operating a dark web network between 2008 and 2013, and investigators have found more than 8.5 million images and videos showing children being sexually abused.
Marques was living in Ireland at the time when the crimes took place, but was handed over to authorities in the US state of Maryland in March 2019.