A Maryland man known as one of the world’s largest providers of child pornography has been sentenced to 27 years in prison

A man labeled by the FBI as the world's largest provider of child pornography was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison on Wednesday and will be supervised for life after his release.

Prosecutors say Eric Eoin Marques ran a network of dark Web servers that hosted millions of images depicting child sexual abuse.

He was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the crime, which the judge called "truly despicable.

U.S. prosecutors said Marks created a "demand and supply" for child pornography worldwide.

According to a statement from prosecutors, New York-born Eric Eoin Marques, 36, a citizen of the United States and Ireland, ran a network of dark Web servers that hosted more than 200 Web sites that distributed millions of images and videos containing child sexual abuse. Marques called the entire network "Freedom Hosting.

Many of the images showed minors being raped and tortured before they reached puberty, and even abuse of babies and young children, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said law enforcement had never seen nearly 2 million of these illegal images before Marques' dark web server was discovered.

"Mr. Marques has essentially created a marketplace for others to trade and promote child pornography, and he is creating demand and supply for a trade that is very dangerous and harmful to children around the world," Jonathan Lenzner, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, told RTE News.

Mr. Marks has essentially created a marketplace for others to trade and promote child pornography, and he is creating demand and supply for a very dangerous and harmful trade for children around the world," Jonathan Lenzner, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, told RTE News. "

Police filed federal charges against Marques in 2013, and he pleaded guilty in February 2020 to conspiring to promote child pornography on the dark web.

At a sentencing hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang said Marques' crimes were "really despicable," like those of a drug lord, according to the Associated Press.

Chuang previously rejected a plea deal by prosecutors seeking a sentence of 15 to 21 years in prison, saying the arrangement was "flawed" and that he wanted to give Marques a longer sentence, according to the Associated Press. He wanted to give Marques a longer sentence.

Before being sentenced, Marques apologized to his victims and asked Chuang for forgiveness, according to the Associated Press.

"I know what I did wrong." He told the court, adding that he would never do such a thing again.

According to the Associated Press, Brendan Hurson, one of Marks' attorneys and an assistant federal public defender, said, "There is no one in this courtroom who is not disgusted with what happened in this case. He won't do it again, and he feels remorse for what he's done."

In a statement from prosecutors, FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers said, "Today's sentencing of Eric Marks sends a clear message to the perpetrators of this serious crime that no matter where you are in the world, law enforcement will hold you accountable and bring you to justice."

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