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Pflugerville man one of many charged in takedown of 'largest darknet child porn website'

Four Texas men have been charged in this case, according to the DoJ.

TEXAS, USA — Editor's note: The video above is related to a similar story that was published in July.

A Pflugerville man is one of several charged worldwide in a takedown of what the United States Department of Justice is calling the "largest darknet child pornography website," which is funded by Bitcoin.

According to the DoJ, Jong Woo Son, 23, was indicted by a federal jury for operating "Welcome to Video," the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content.

"Welcome To Video offered these videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin," the DoJ explained. "Typically, sites of this kind give users a forum to trade in these depictions. This darknet website is among the first of its kind to monetize child exploitation videos using bitcoin."

An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged, the DoJ said. 

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Four men in Texas were charged, including Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville.

According to the DoJ, the following Texas men have been charged:

  • Michael Ezeagbor, 22, of Pflugerville, Texas, was arrested and charged in the District of Columbia with conspiracy to distribute child pornography.
  • Eliseo Arteaga Jr., 28, of Mesquite, Texas, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Texas to possession of prepubescent child pornography. He is pending sentencing.
  • Richard Nikolai Gratkowski, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, a former HSI special agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas. Gratkowski pleaded guilty to the indictment charging one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography. Gratkowski was sentenced to serve 70 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $35,000 in restitution to seven victims and a $10,000 assessment.
  • Paul Casey Whipple, 35, of Hondo, Texas, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, was arrested in the Western District of Texas, on charges of sexual exploitation of children/minors, production, distribution, and possession of child pornography. Whipple remains in custody awaiting trial in San Antonio.

Son is currently serving his sentence in South Korea, according to the DoJ.

Dozens of minor victims who were being abused by the uses of the site have been rescued, the DoJ said.

WATCH: KVUE Defenders: Helping sex trafficking victims

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