Local man caught up in large international child porn bust

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An Ohio man was arrested in connection with what federal agents are calling the largest takedown of a Darknet child pornography website.

Investigators say the website Welcome to Video, which was funded by Bitcoin purchases, offered downloadable videos of children engaging in sexual conduct.

Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. for his role as the leader and distributor of the website, according to the Department of Justice.

Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence there.  

In March of last year, agents from several agencies seized the website’s server and obtained approximately eight terabytes of child sexual exploitation videos, which is the largest seizure of its kind, investigators said.

The images, which are currently being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), contained over 250,000 unique videos.

Over 300 site users in 24 states have been linked to the Welcome to Video website, including a man from Ohio.

Alex Daniel Paxton, 30, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested and indicted in Franklin County Common Pleas Court for pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

“Children around the world are safer because of the actions taken by U.S. and foreign law enforcement to prosecute this case and recover funds for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu. “We will continue to pursue such criminals on and off the darknet in the United States and abroad, to ensure they receive the punishment their terrible crimes deserve.”

The Welcome to Video website is one of the first to use Bitcoin as its sole currency.

“Through the sophisticated tracing of Bitcoin transactions, IRS-CI special agents were able to determine the location of the Darknet server, identify the administrator of the website and ultimately track down the website server’s physical location in South Korea,” said IRS-CI Chief Don Fort. 

Suspects in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have also been arrested.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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