Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice have been very busy lately cleaning up the D.C. swamp and bringing down major criminals all over the world.
And the streak continued this week in a big way after the DOJ, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Department of Homeland Security just arrested 337 criminals in the “largest bust ever” of its kind.
The massive coordinated operation successfully took down Jong Woo Son, a South Korean national, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content.
The nine-count indictment reveals that Son was also charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea.
An additional 337 site users have been arrested and charged.
This was a massive operation to capture hundreds of sick people who took part in children being sexually assaulted, abused, and exploited online.
Many of the 337 site users lived in the United States, with others living in different countries across the world.
In their announcement, Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, and Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) said the following:
“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. “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.”
Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”
“Through the sophisticated tracing of bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able 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,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. “This largescale criminal enterprise that endangered the safety of children around the world is no more. Regardless of the illicit scheme, and whether the proceeds are virtual or tangible, we will continue to work with our federal and international partners to track down these disgusting organizations and bring them to justice.”
The indictment reveals that after Son was arrested in South Korea, officials seized the server that he used to operate a Darknet market that exclusively advertised child sexual exploitation videos available for download.
Below are some of the main aspects of the seizure:
- Approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos were seized, which is the largest of its kind.
- The images contained over 250,000 unique videos, and 45 percent of the videos currently analyzed contain new images that have not been previously known to exist.
- Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. This Darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin.
- After analyzing the servers, officials learned that the website had more than one million bitcoin addresses, signifying that the website had capacity for at least one million users.
- The agencies shared data from the seized server with law enforcement around the world to assist in identifying and prosecuting customers of the site. This has resulted in leads sent to 38 countries and yielded arrests of 337 subjects around the world.
- The operation has resulted in searches of residences and businesses of approximately 92 individuals in the United States. Notably, the operation is responsible for the rescue of at least 23 minor victims residing in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom, who were being actively abused by the users of the site.
With all of this considered, keep in mind that Democrats want to abolish ICE and the Department of Homeland Security — who just played a major role in helping save countless children from being abused and exploited online.