Earlier today, October 16th 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced indictments of 338 individuals across 12 countries after the take down and seizure of a DarkNet website called “Welcome To Video” – the largest DarkNet child pornography site, by volume, US authorities have ever uncovered. The site itself is said to have been owned and operated by a 23 years old by the name of Jong Woo Son – whom is currently serving other charges for child pornography in South Korea, of which he is a citizen.
Upon unsealing today’s indictment, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division stated that “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.” It’s also said that the site itself was ultimately done in by the use of Bitcoin transactions, which allowed authorities “to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea.”
It should also be noted that while 12 countries were identified in the indictment, most of the individuals named do come from the US – spanning across 24 different states. Interestingly enough, I’d estimate that over 90% of all the US citizens named were between the ages of 24 and 42 at the time of their arrest – something I would not have expected going into the story.
Statement from DoJ: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/south-korean-national-and-hundreds-others-charged-worldwide-takedown-largest-darknet-child
Indictment Release: https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1210441/download
Complaint for Forfeiture: https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1210461/download
Browse Indictment & Complaint for Forfeiture:0f8bf-son_indictment_0
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