US Man Sentenced to Over 21 Years for Dark Web Distribution of CSAM

You reap what you sow!

In April 2023, Austen Peppers from Lawton, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty to advertising and distributing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the dark web.

Austen Peppers, a 36-year-old resident of Lawton, Oklahoma, faced the gavel and received a sentencing of 21 years and 10 months in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release. This judgment came after Peppers was found guilty in April 2023, of the advertising and distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the dark web, as announced by U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.

The distribution of CSAM has emerged as a significant challenge for law enforcement, exacerbated by AI services capable of generating harmful images. Recently, the Internet Watch Foundation, a UK-based internet watchdog, revealed that cybercriminals are turning to generative AI platforms to create child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

The court documents unveiled a disturbing timeline spanning from March 2018 to August 2019, during which Peppers was involved in the sale and solicitation of images portraying minors subjected to sexual abuse. His transactions were executed in the shadows of the dark web, employing cryptocurrency, and utilizing platforms that he believed shielded him from law enforcement scrutiny.

Peppers also engaged in explicit conversations with individuals he believed were minors, persuading them to create sexually explicit self-images. Shockingly, Peppers accumulated an extensive library of thousands of images and videos depicting children suffering sexual abuse.

According to a press release from the US Department of Justice (DoJ),, Austen Peppers has been in confinement since his initial appearance in court on November 14, 2019. As part of the sentencing, Peppers was also directed to pay restitution of $57,000 to 19 victims who suffered due to his vile actions.

This case highlights the dangers posed by individuals utilizing the anonymity of the dark web for criminal activities, especially those exploiting and abusing minors. Engaging in illegal activities, particularly heinous crimes such as the distribution of CSAM, on the dark web is a serious offence that should be strictly avoided. has consistently cautioned users about the dangerous nature of the illicit sections of the dark web, emphasizing the importance of refraining from engaging in unlawful actions while navigating its depths. To gain a deeper understanding of the potential risks and the activities that should be avoided on the dark web, you can explore further details here.

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