WASHINGTON, D.C. — A dual national citizen of the United States and Ireland pleaded guilty in federal court in Maryland to conspiracy to advertise child pornography.
According ot his plea agreement, 33-year-old Eric Eoin Marques of Dublin, Ireland admitted that between July 24, 2008, and July 29, 2013, he conspired to advertise child pornography by operating an anonymous web hosting service.
He was extradited to the United States by Irish authorities in March 2019 and was indicted in a four-count indictment.
According to court documents, between July 24, 2008 and July 29, 2013, Marques operated a free anonymous hosting service located on the “dark web,” The hosting service had websites that allowed users to view and share images documenting the sexual abuse of children, including the abuse of prepubescent minors, violent sexual abuse and bestiality.
The investigation revealed that the hosting service contained over 8.5 million images of child exploitation material and over 1.97 million of these images and/or videos involved victims that were not known by law enforcement.
As of July 2013, one child exploitation website reported nearly 1.4 million files were uploaded and accessible by individuals who visited that hidden service. During 2012 and 2013, FBI special agents and employees using computers in Maryland downloaded more than one million files from that website.
Officials say as part of the investigation, those files were reviewed and nearly all of the files depict children who are engaging in sexually explicit conduct with adults or other children, posed nude and/or in such a manner as to expose their genitals, in various state of undress, or depict child erotica.
He is scheduled for sentencing on May 11.