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23 abused kids rescued as feds bust biggest international child porn ring, more than 300 arrested including South Korean, Jong Woon Son, 23, ‘mastermind’ of Darknet site with sick videos of children and infants that were sold for bitcoin

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ICE and IRS criminal investigative arms collaborated to bring down the world’s ‘largest dark web child porn marketplace’, prosecutors announced on Wednesday
The bust resulted in the seizure of approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is one of the largest seizures of its kind, ever feds said
Fed prosecutors say the vast online store was run by Jong Woo Son, currently serving a prison sentence in South Korea on charges related to child pornography
At least 23 minor victims residing in the U.S., Spain and the UK, were rescued in bust of the international child porn ring
Those arrested include the South Korean ‘mastermind’ of the Darknet site with sick videos of children and infants that were sold for bitcoin 
South Korean national Jong Woon Son, 23, is accused of running child porn site
Darknet site sold sickening videos of child abuse in exchange for bitcoin 
Another 337 alleged users of the vile dark web site were also arrested

Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington DC for running the site Welcome To Video, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.
Investigators say that the website, which operated on the encrypted Tor network, was the largest single online depot of child sexual exploitation by volume of content.
An additional 337 site users living in the U.S. and other countries were arrested in the sting.
The dark web, a section of the internet that can only be accessed via a Tor browser, is designed to protect users’ tracks online and obscure digital footprints.

The arrests were made in multiple countries including the UK, Ireland, South Korea, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic and Canada.

Officials said the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the U.S., Spain and the UK, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.
‘Darknet sites that profit from the sexual exploitation of children are among the most vile and reprehensible forms of criminal behavior,’ said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
In the U.S., the criminal investigative arms of the Internal Revenue Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement collaborated on the investigation.
According to the indictment, Welcome to Video was launched on the Darknet in June 2015.
Undercover investigators say that the site’s upload page had the instruction ‘Do not upload adult porn over the age of 15.’

US DOJ announces takedown of worldwide pedophile ring.JPGUS DOJ announces takedown of worldwide pedophile ring on in Washington DC on Wednesday
The site hosted more than 200,000 videos of sickening child abuse, including the rape of infants and toddlers, the indictment said.

Users would purchase videos with ‘points’, which they could earn by uploading new videos, referring new users, or simply paying with bitcoin.
Prosecutors say that Son was the administrator of the site, which raked in some $370,000 in bitcoin payments between 2015 and 2018.
The site’s users downloaded child exploitation videos more than one million times in the same time period, according to court documents.
Son is currently serving an 18-month sentence in South Korea, and U.S. authorities are expected to seek his extradition to face justice in America.

Police in the UK found a link to he site on the computer of Matthew Falder, 37. The Welcome To Video site first came to the attention of law enforcement in June 2017, when police in the UK arrested Cambridge graduate Matthew Falder, a geophysicist from an affluent family who led a secret life trading images of child sex abuse.
Falder later admitted 137 offenses, including voyeurism, encouraging child rape, and sharing images showing the abuse of a newborn baby, and has been jailed for 25 years.
The National Crime Agency, Britain’s equivalent of the FBI, found a link to the Welcome To Video website on Falder’s computer, and launched a joint investigation with authorities in the U.S., Germany and elsewhere.
In the U.S., agents with the IRS and Homeland Securing Investigations, a division of ICE, began the meticulous work of tracking the website’s operator.

Mathew Falder's computer.JPGThe NCA uncovered Welcome To Video during its investigation into the geophysicist Dr Matthew Falder, whose computer [photo], was taken into an evidence

As investigators scrutinized the website’s source code, they discovered two occasions where the IP address of the server had not been fully concealed.
Those two IP addresses were traced to a service provider in South Korea, and were registered to an account at Son’s address, according to the indictment.
Meanwhile, IRS investigators were also able to track payments made by undercover agents to the Welcome To Video bitcoin account.
The payments were tracked through to a wallet account that Son held with a bitcoin exchange, where he had to register with his name and contact information in order to convert the bitcoin
A warrant was issued for Son’s arrest by a U.S. federal magistrate judge in February 2018.
On March 5, 2018, agents from the IRS-CI, HSI, the UK’s NCA, and Korean National Police in South Korea arrested Son and seized the server used to operate Welcome To Video.
Using a sophisticated analysis of bitcoin transactions, which are recorded on the public blockchain, the investigators were also able to backtrace many of the payments to the website, and unmask its users.

Hundreds of arrests followed around the world in the following months.
Two users of the Darknet market committed suicide subsequent to the execution of search warrants.
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, officials said.
The files included over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos contain new images that have not been previously known to law enforcement.
Analysis of the files led to identification of some of the abused children, 23 of whom have been located and rescued so far.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is currently in the process of analyzing thousands more videos, in hope of identifying and rescuing the child victims they depict.
Some American residents have been indicted in the ‘Welcome To Video’ child porn ring, some already tried and jailed while others await trial including:

Charles Wunderlich, 34, of Hot Springs, California
Brian James LaPrath, 34, of San Diego, California
Ernest Wagner, 70, of Federal Way, Washington
Vincent Galarzo, 28, of Glendale, New York
Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville, Texas
Nicholas Stengel, 45, of Washington, D.C.
Eryk Mark Chamberlin, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts
Jairo Flores, 30, of Cambridge, Massachusetts
Billy Penaloza, 29, of Dorchester, Massachusetts
Michael Armstrong, 35, of Randolph, Massachusetts
Al Ramadhanu Soedomo, 28, of Lynn, Massachusetts
Phillip Sungmin Hong, 24, of Sharon, Massachusetts
Eliseo Arteaga Jr., 28, of Mesquite, Texas
Richard Nikolai Gratkowski, 40, of San Antonio, Texas
Paul Casey Whipple, 35, of Hondo, Texas
Michael Lawson, 36, of Midland, Georgia
Kevin Christopher Eagan, 39, of Brookhaven, Georgia
Casey Santioius Head, 37, of Griffin, Georgia
Andrew C. Chu, 28, of Garwood, New Jersey
Nader Hamdi Ahmed, 29 of Jersey City, New Jersey
Jeffrey Lee Harris, 32, of Pickens, South Carolina
Laine Ormand Clark Jr., 27, of Conway, South Carolina
Jack R. Dove III, 38, of Lakeland, Florida
Michael Matthew White, 39, of Miami Beach, Florida
Nikolas Bennion Bradshaw, 24, of Bountiful, Utah
Michael Don Gibbs, 37, of Holladay, Utah
Ammar Atef H. Alahdali, 22, of Arlington, Virginia
Mark Lindsay Rohrer, 38, of West Hartford, Connecticut
Eugene Edward Jung, 47, of San Francisco, California
James Daosaeng, 25, of Springdale, Arkansas
Alex Daniel Paxton, 30, of Columbus, Ohio
Don Edward Pannell, 32, of Harvey, Louisiana
Ryan Thomas Carver, 29, of Huntsville, Alabama
Mohammed Almaker, 26, of Fort Collins, Colorado

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