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More Arrests In The Playpen Case

Operation Pacifier, being one of the largest action targeting the dark web by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had resulted in the arrests of more than 135 people in 18 states in child pornography cases. The operation included both the bust of the child porn website Playpen and placing a malware on the website that tracked and logged the users who were using the domain while the federal agency was running it.

Many of the arrested people in the Playpen case were white-collar professionals, including a pediatrician, a math teacher, a professor, a public school administrator, a preschool teacher, a former bank executive and a federal drug enforcement agent.

The most recent arrests took place in Houston, including the busts of Gregg Carl Baird, Dennis Patrick Meehan Hughes, Matthew Kirk Irwin, Louis Clifford Smith, Jacob Riley Garner and John Christopher Ferguson who are now facing child pornography charges in a Houston federal court.

An official from the Department of Justice (DOJ) made this statement in a briefing on the government’s anti-pornography efforts:

“The perception of a safe haven for individuals that seek to exploit children is not something that we can tolerate, not something that this society can tolerate so we have to pursue it, and we are, and have, and will continue to do so.”

Many of the arrested had already pleaded guilty to the charges against them, however, some of the defendants state that the FBI had violated their civil rights by operating the website for two weeks after seizing the server in North Carolina. Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., made this statement in the defense of one the accused persons:

“Certainly, it’s the first time that they’ve run a website of this magnitude. It’s also the first time they’ve hacked this number of users successfully. The FBI facilitated the wholesale distribution of child porn for several weeks last year. It’s truly sickening.”

135 arrested persons are not the end of the case, officials anticipate more indictments as the Playpen investigation continues.


  1. as always, they will never touch/arrest those who produce pedo movies, they arrest only the users of such movies. producers are jet-set in Britain (politicians, cops, etc).


    The allegations about so-called VIP pedophiles involve prestigious London addresses, some of the highest-ranking members of Britain’s establishment and the suspected abuse of young boys in the 1970s and 1980s, including three who were slain.

    Six members of Parliament have been implicated in the scandal, which threatens to expose a powerful political elite who may have raped and exploited juveniles for more than a decade and put their self-interests ahead of the protection of children.

    John Mann, a member of Parliament, has presented Scotland Yard with a dossier that he said names 22 high-profile figures, including three serving in the House of Commons and three members of the House of Lords, who are believed to have been involved in a pedophile ring. There are no allegations that the six members of Parliament were involved in incidents in which children died.

    The dossier includes the names of 14 Conservative politicians, five Labor politicians and three from other parties, Mann told reporters.

    He also alleges that up to five pedophile rings were operational at the same time during the 1970s and 1980s, and that two whistle-blowers who knew about nefarious activities by members of Parliament met suspicious deaths………….

    • Pepper

      Well said. CP is used as a pretext to undermine personal liberty and privacy. Now what would be the next step for those LE masterminds? Getting jailbaits on the road trying to seduce men and then arresting the victims for conduct with a minor?

      • Anonymouse

        It comes down to what country you’re in. If you’re from America you’re screwed. Their most recent bust went after everyone the could get, not just the producers and admins like they usually did. Its a certainty they’re hosting sites right now, but no one knows what sites. They took over at least 2 pedo sites we know of and ran them, continuing to host child porn. There was no way for people to know when the server administration changed from pedos to the FBI. Same goes for any new hacking/drug/CP sites that have gone up since. They didn’t get in any trouble for hosting those servers, there’s nothing stopping them from hosting more. Why would they use jailbaits when honeypots work just fine.

    • You can’t be serious. They busted so many producers that used tor. TLZ was their biggest catch, and there have been almost a dozen sites busted. Every single site busted involved producers being caught.

      The pedo corruption stories you’re talking about happened decades ago. So much has changed since then. Every wonder why cubscout/boyscout enrollment has been declining every year for the past 10 years? Not to mention the Catholic churches and daycares and schools and youth sports leagues that have resulted in thousands of arrests of pedophiles. It used to be bad in the 70s and 80s when it was embarrassing or shameful to talk about, but the present world we live in today blows the doors off anything that even sounds like it could be child sex abuse. It still happens but far more people are getting arrested for it today than ever before and more kids are telling on adults than has ever happened before. There was even a paper on it around 2012 where they looked at a bunch of studies and found child sex abuse in the US has been cut in half since the mid 90s. Its nothing like it was in the 70s and 80s.

      • Big Joe


        There have not been a “dozen sites” busted. Other than that guy in Nebraska (now in prison), Eric Marques’ Lolita City (whom the US government has yet to extradite), TLZ, and now, Playpen, no other major CP darknet sites have fallen. HC is still around, as are its mirrors.

        Even the FBI admits that darknet CP sites are becoming “more resilient”.


        • Yeah its closer to just over a half dozen (PlayPen, Hurt2Core, TLZ, BrasilBoysForum, Hoarders Hell, PedoBook, I know I’m missing a few). When I heard about mirror sites going up, it reminds me of Silk Road after it was busted, and how not surprising it was the Silk Road 2 and 3 went down just as suspiciously as they went up. Same with Freedom Hosting Reborn, might as well have had a little “Powered by the FBI” at the bottom of the logo on all those sites. From what I’ve been hearing there are all sorts of illegal sites (drug and other) popping up on tor that are likely being hosted by law enforcement. There’s no way of knowing for sure until they either knock on your door or until it shows up on some legal documents while prosecuting someone.

          In regards to the FBI’s statement, they also said they wouldn’t be able to hack the iPhone without Apple’s help. Apple didn’t help and they still hacked it. I guess its safe to take the FBI at their word when they publicly announce what their technical capabilities are especially when domestic and international crime/terror groups read the same news we do.

          • Anonymouse

            I lol’d when I read the “Even the FBI admits that darknet CP sites are becoming more resilient” part of the comment. People should already know the FBI isn’t going to be transparent when it comes to their capabilities. The Apple case is a perfect example. They said it was impossible to unlock the phone without Apple’s cooperation. Apple said no and the FBI ended up unlocking it. Getting the phone unlocked wasn’t the FBI’s top priority, they wanted the legal power to control companies and force backdoors or a guarantee to decrypt anything they want.

            There’s definitely a new trend of the FBI hosting new illegal onion sites. No one has any idea how many or how few they’re currently hosting. This approach is a lot like when people traded illegal files on P2P. The cops were confused at first, made some arrests that were later reversed because of mistakes they made, then after that they regularly dominated people trading child porn and still occasionally make federal cases out of pirates even though most get reprimanded by ISPs or piracy companies. The FBI is getting more advanced with their techniques and they’ve shown they’ll do anything to prevent the public from knowing how until they want the public to know. They refused a judge’s order to release the NIT source code and the judge did nothing. The FBI has shown how above the law they are. This is all the more reason to be concerned about the power they have over tor.

          • So let me see if I understand some of these comments. z YOU are complaining that the authorities are tricking PEDOPHILES into viewing these sites and therefore it’s just not fair that these evil monsters should be rounded up and arrested?
            If that is your position then you are sick and need to be confined to a mental hospital and or investigated yourself.
            If you in anyway condone Pedophilia you should be taken out back at shot as to rid the world of your depravity.

    • The 70s and 80s were a much much different time than we live in now. Child abuse still happens but you should see how many studies have been conducted that show its just a fraction of what it used to be, especially when you look at child sexual abuse statistics.

      • Big Joe


        Probably because CP is a LOT easier to come by, which means that perverts can use that to satisfy their innate, hard-wired desires, and not prey upon innocent victims. It’s called “conservative pedophile”.

        No one is expecting homosexuals to change their “orientation”; don’t expect CP perverts to change, either. Just leave them alone, and it is likely that they (many of whom are your friends & neighbors) will leave you (and, especially, your kids) alone, also!


        • “conservative pedophile”, isn’t that what they called Dennis Hasstert? It shows how serious the United States takes pedophilia. That was a case where abuse happened decades ago with an incredibly powerful person, 3rd in line to the Presidency, and he still got jail time!! I don’t think the US cares if pedos change their “orientation” either, no candidate has even hinted at easing the punishments on pedos, so why would they give them a special “orientation” status? Imagine the public reaction. About half of America slightly tolerated or supported on gay marriage. The other half didn’t tolerate or hated the idea of it. Now gays are old news. Transgender is the next hot topic. Assuming they get everything they ask for, there’s no chance its going to become acceptable to shift to pedophilia becoming the next new accepted “sexual orientation”. The US is never going to leave pedos alone to just do their thing in private even with child porn, its just going to continue like it has. If they abuse kids, jailtime. If they send or receive child porn, jailtime. Pretty simple system, and ever since the laws became harsher on them the child sex abuse rates have been been cut in half. That’s an incredible accomplishment.

        • myTbean

          While a viewer might not be there in the room assaulting the child and filming the abuse, clicking and watching is contributing to demand. That viewership pays for ads and puts money in the till of someone who does that sort of thing. Or at the very least, views validates the producer’s actions and encourages them to do more of it.

          If, let’s say, there’s a group of people out there that get off on watching other people have their identities and complete bank balances stolen. So, to meet that demand, producers film that and put that online for the viewers. Let’s say they film you being robbed and identity jacked and then
          ,maybe it’s really juicy so you become one of the most clicked but no one will report it because it’s useful for their urges. Would you feel that the viewers were innocent or complicit in that arrangement?

    • Meanwhile in the United States, they just gave jailtime to Dennis Hasstert who used to be 3rd in line to the Presidency. This is huge. Law enforcement is saying if you’re gonna be a pedophile don’t do it in America. Would his punishment be the same if he liked girls instead of boys? Its like you have 2 scandals, 1 in Britain, 1 in the US that happened decades ago. 1 case they ignore, the other they punish with jail time even though 1 accuser died over 10 years ago. The US takes pedophilia seriously.

  2. Why the dumb assess do not encrypt their CP is a mystery beyond mysteries. (TrueCrypt still works, fuck heads.) These Playpen stories do, however, reveal an important current — those who use good OpSec (Tails with full system encryption, anonymous access points, Tor bridges, obfuscation, minimal online presence, etc.) are doing just fine. It’s defense-in-depth here, mates; learn from the experts and you can’t go wrong, and if some TLA/LE shows-up, keep your fucking mouth shut!! (Or, at least, “I exercise my 5th Amendment rights and my right to legal counsel” for those of you who live in the States; rinse and repeat often and as necessary.

    Hughes, by the way, was a pediatric oncologist, who treated kids with cancer; makes one wonder how many of them are going to end up dead because their doc was a pervert who, by all accounts, kept his prevision to himself. Still, he was a perverted fool, even if he was a good doc.

    As for you, DOJ, “Fuck you!” You’re only getting a tiny handful of CP pervs out there, a 135 arrests out of 250K is a pitiful statistic by any LE measurement, and let’s face it, most of those dopes either wanted to get caught or were just plain stupid, in which case, they deserved to be caught.

  3. “The FBI facilitated the wholesale distribution of child porn for several weeks last year. It’s truly sickening.”

    I would several years. Think about it. 99% of the users got away with it. They had all the time to download the files from playpen then upload and spread them all over the darknet.
    They say CP victimize children, but the FBI helped them doing so.
    And all of this for what? 135 users? Come on! I bet a large part of them were not even from playpen. It wouldn’t be the first time FBI is lying to cover up their mistakes.
    The australian police did a better job with TLZ.

    • They prioritized the arrests. Producers first, since they are abusing a child and putting the child at risk. Site admins/moderators next since they are facilitating the distribution of child porn. Finally, any random users they can get in the process as icing on the cake.

  4. You’ve got to be kidding. The producers are the ones they go after first. There have been nearly 10 pedo sites busted on tor and in nearly all the cases the producers were the first to get busted. TLZ was their biggest catch to date and they caught 4 (maybe more) producers, and a few other users that didn’t make porn but downloaded it.

    You’re bringing up cases that are 30-40 years old. There are so many other examples even outside of Europe of what people used to be able to get away with for child abuse, but that was so long ago when it was embarrassing to talk about. Now you have toddlers singing songs about keeping adults away from their no no squares, boy scout enrollment has been shrinking every year for nearly 10 years, several stories a week of kids telling on adults that touched them, and a large number of child sex abuse prevention groups that have shown the number of child molestations and rapes have been cut in half since the mid 90s. Yes things used to be bad, but with fewer kids being molested (in the USA), child porn producers/admins/users getting arrested on tor, and more kids reporting to the police of adults that touch them sexually, I think things are looking up in the big picture.

    • Anonymouse

      Keep looking up, Alice. Even the FBI admits that for every pedo site they take down, two or three more pop-up in its place. It’s Darwinian artificial selection at work here — those CP admins who use good OpSec will continue to run their sites for years on end (which means running them outside of the US and Europe), and if the Feds manage to take them down, they’ll simply setup shop somewhere else.

      You can’t change the CP pervs, Alice; no one can. They are like faggots, except, now, faggots are accepted in society, even praised. People are wired in their brains to be who there are, and there is no changing them. In fact, it would appear that the number of CP pervs in the World outnumber the number of fags.

      Finally, don’t confuse “correlation with causation”; could the decrease in sexual abuse of kiddos be due to the spread of CP? If so, the Darknet could be responsible, in a good way, for helping to keep more kids safe, by giving the perverts “an out” for their perverted desires? Yes, they are sick bastards, but so are faggots, in my opinion at least. I would rather fuck a rock than fuck another member of my sex.

      In any case, don’t believe every statistic that comes out of TLA/LEs mouths; they want their high salaries with good healthcare, retirement, vacation and other fringe benefits. As Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there’s statistics.”

      • I’m a teacher and we heard that same 2012 statistic at one of the largest child care conferences in the world. Then after we saw a child abuse prevention organization passing out pamphlets requesting donations to battle child abuse. The abuse statistics they gave were much higher than the presentation we got out of. When our group asked them what year the statistics were from, they finally admitted the early 90s. When we asked them why they weren’t using the more current statistic which was much much lower, they finally admitted they were concerned people wouldn’t think child abuse was as much of a problem if the more recent sex abuse statistic was used. This means they were afraid people wouldn’t donate as much money if they were told what the most current child sex abuse rates are. In that moment I realized just how twisted some of these child safety organizations are in that all they really care about is money. I don’t know about other countries, but from all the evidence I’ve seen, its pretty much impossible to make a case on saying child sex abuse has increased in the US.

      • It would probably be best for humanity if you did stick with rocks.

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