Irish man jailed for 27 years is "world's largest facilitator of child abuse imagery"
Eric Eoin Marques was sentenced yesterday.
An Irish man jailed for 27 years has been described as the "world's largest facilitator of child abuse imagery."
Eric Eoin Marques, who has dual Irish and US citizenship, was arrested in Dublin in 2013 and later extradited to the States.
The Dublin man this week pleaded guilty to conspiracy to advertise child abuse images by operating an anonymous web hosting service.
As part of a plea agreement a recommended sentence of 21 to 27 years was handed down. Marques has been described by the FBI as the "world's largest facilitator of child abuse imagery."
US Attorney John Lenzner told RTÉ News that the sentence sends "powerful message to those who are trading in child pornography, or are contemplating trading in child pornography."
He said: "It was important to get a sentence that not only tells those out there that we will find you and hold you accountable for trading in child pornography; but also to the victims, to make sure they know that law enforcement here and overseas are committed to finding the criminals who exploit them and then when we can, seeking restitution for them."
According to court documents, Marques ran an anonymous online hosting service on the dark web from his father's Dublin apartment from 2008 to 2013.
The site allowed users to access and share images and videos pertaining to the sexual abuse of children and is believed to have housed over 8.5 million images of child exploitation and abuse.
Marques was also ordered to pay $87,000 to the victims of the child abuse imagery that he distributed on his dark web site.
US officials said that "no child in the world is safe" from Marques. The 36-year-old is expected to return to Ireland once his sentence is complete.