As a result of a “nationwide operation conducted by the FBI” that investigated child abusers and downloaders of child pornography on the darknet, 29-year-old Craig T. Anderson will spend the next 87 months in federal prison. In 2017, Anderson pleaded guilty to knowingly receiving child pornography. FBI Special Agent in Charge Amy Hess and Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky announced the man’s prison sentence.
The press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky did not mention the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Operation Pacifier. However, even the few pieces of information revealed in the announcement pointed directly to the disturbingly illegal investigation into the users of the darknet child pornography forum “PlayPen.” The announcement explained that the FBI caught Anderson during a nationwide operation led by the FBI. The FBI found that Anderson had accessed and downloaded significant amounts of child pornography from a site he accessed through the Tor browser. He allegedly saved the images in his Tor browser directory.
At a previous court appearance, Anderson admitted that he had accessed a site and downloaded child pornography in February 2015. The FBI’s only evidence that he received child pornography came from the “nationwide investigation” that occured in February 2015. One might remember the Opening Brief in the case against another PlayPen member named David Tippens. “In early 2015, the FBI operated a website called “Playpen” and became one of the world’s largest distributors of child pornography. While operating the site, the FBI obtained a search warrant in Virginia and, despite the warrant’s limited authorization, targeted thousands of computers around the world,” the document read.
The FBI discovered that Anderson had accessed PlayPen with the Tor browser in early 2015 and later executed a search warrant at his parents’ house in Kentucky, the USAO’s report said. Agents seized his laptop and a forensic examination revealed that Anderson had downloaded and stored approximately 577 illegal pictures. Unique pictures.
Judges across the United States have passed down prison sentences for convicted PlayPen users that do not seem to fit the norm. Tippens, for instance, possibly had the greatest impact on the mainstream media. His actions disturbed the court. He had created soundproof walls to hide the sounds of child pornography from his neighbors. After his arrest, he admitted that one of his hard drives had “a terabyte” of child pornography stored on it. The government pursued several charges and a 48 month prison sentence. In the end, Tippens pleaded guilty to one count of the least significant charge and received a six month prison sentence.
At this point, though, they will take any conviction they can get; the FBI overplayed their hand with the use of the NIT and subsequent refusal to allow the NIT code to be examined.