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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Another Admin of The Love Zone Sentenced in Australia Over Darknet Child Porn

An Australian judge sentenced another VIP member of The Love Zone (TLZ) to seven years in prison. The accused was an Adelaide man named David Glen Cecchin. He fought the case and painted a far different picture than reality. But an inside source made Cecchin’s fate concrete.

Taskforce Argos was the team responsible for the TLZ takedown. Members of the specialized team hunted a TLZ user who used a specific word as his signature: “hiyas.” The user was an administrator of the famed child porn site. Officers found a man who shared this practice on the clearnet. Shannon McCoole of Adelaide, Australia.

Chief Judge Geoffrey Muecke, South Australian District Court, jailed Cecchin for seven years. Cecchin pleaded guilty to five child porn offences between 2012 and 2014. Judge Muecke described his actions as “prolonged, extensive and grave.”

Police raided Cecchin in 2014 and found 1500 child pornography images and videos. But Judge Muecke said that the now-jailed man’s role in TLZ was not known by investigators. Police recovered data from the man’s machines. They pulled some encrypted data and some unencrypted. Yet, Judge Muecke said, police failed to access data behind some encryption. Based on the unrecovered material, Judge Muecke told Cecchin that he “got off easy.”

After his arrest. Cecchin “told different stories to different people, the Judge said. But those stories made no difference. Cecchin’s claims that he wasn’t interested in child pornography were lies; “You got off on it. You had been viewing it for years,” said Judge Muecke.

The Judge also revealed details about the case including information sent between Cecchin and a former lawyer. The jailed-man told his lawyer TLZ had different levels of membership. Each level required different forms participation. TLZ admins required new members to upload fresh content twice a month. They required VIP members to upload unseen child porn every 40 days. But admins and moderators were not required to upload anything, if they chose not to. TLZ had a section for people who produced child pornography. They could buy and sell in this “section.”

Cecchin’s case involved information from the messages between himself and McCoole. Police, in 2014, arrested McCoole but kept it quiet. They used McCoole’s admin account to read the messages between the site’s 45,000 members. Site members later admitted they were unaware that law enforcement controlled McCoole’s account. “Kudos. I chatted to McCoole for six months and didn’t realize it was the cops,” one member said.

McCoole, quite recently, testified against a member of TLZ. He gave police evidence for two different cases, that we know of, so far. Police stuck McCoole in PC and monitored him 24/7. From his cell in PC, McCoole testified against a Danish co-admin. McCoole appeared in the courtroom via video chat. The prosecutor asked McCool about the Danish suspect’s involvement in TLZ.

“He helped me find original child pornography material. In general, TL had seen so much material that if he had not seen something before, then it had to be new,” McCoole said.

Cecchin received seven years and five months from the South Australian District Court. The Judge also imposed a mandatory non-parole period of four years and six months.
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