FBI Operation Pacifier

Operation Pacifier is or was a large scale hacking campaigning from the FBI launched in 2015 investigating criminal activity on the dark web. It was the largest such operation since Operation Torpedo.

Malware known to law enforcement as network investigative techniques (NITs) were used to discover the real IP addresses of Tor users from a seized child porn website.

The international nature of the operation raised a number of legal questions about the FBI’s international jurisdiction and is the subject of ongoing legal and journalistic investigations. [Wikipedia]

Warrant Application


Daryl Glenn Pawlack aka “notsoslow”

Richard Lueck aka “Fred Flinstone”

Imprisonment: 151 months; Court recommends deft. participate in the non-residential Sex Offender Treatment Program while incarcerated. Supervised release: 10 years; Mandatory drug testing requirements are imposed. Special conditions of supervised release: Sex offender conditions to include participation in a mental health treatment program specialized for sex offender; Deft. shall have no contact with minor children; Media and computer restrictions imposed. Deft. shall register with all sex offender registries; Search conditions imposed. Cooperate in the collection of DNA. Fine: Waived; Special assessment: $100.00. Forfeit those assets identified in the preliminary order of forfeiture [6:17-cr-00008-CEM-KRS-1]

Michael Fluckiger

Dennis P.M. Hughes

David Tippens

Jay Michaud

“dismissal without prejudice leaves open the possibility that the government could bring new charges should there come a time within the statute of limitations when and the government be in a position to provide the requested discovery.” [US Attorney Annette Hayes]

Alex Levin

Steven Chase (Owner/Admin)

The creator and lead administrator of Playpen, a highly sophisticated website dedicated to the sexual abuse of children which operated on the Tor anonymity network, was sentenced today for his role in this global child exploitation enterprise.

Jason Sebastian Sparks

“the FBI determined that a user connected to an IP address operating at Sparks’ Oroville residence had accessed Playpen for approximately three hours and 13 minutes over a two-day period in March 2015. Investigators subsequently searched Sparks’ residence and seized a computer that Sparks used to download child pornography from the Tor network. In a statement to investigators, Sparks admitted to accessing Playpen and to using the Tor network to download child pornography. Sparks also admitted that he had previously sexually abused an approximately six-year-old child on five occasions.”

David Lynn Browning (Moderator)

According to admissions made in connection with the plea, Browning acted as the global moderator of a highly-sophisticated global enterprise dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children, organized via a members-only website that operated on the Tor anonymity network, through which he and more than 150,000 other members authored and viewed tens of thousands of postings relating to sexual abuse of children as young as infants and toddlers

Jason Dean Barnes

On July 29, 2015, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Barnes’s residence. During an interview, Barnes admitted to searching for, downloading, and viewing child pornography using the website, and that he had struggled with this addiction for a number of years. A forensic examination of Barnes’s laptop computer revealed that it contained at least 500 videos and at least 5,000 images depicting child pornography, including several videos that Barnes had downloaded earlier that same morning.

Lucas Zalesny

On Aug. 31, 2015, FBI investigators revealed that child porn had been downloaded to a computer or device at an apartment in the 500 block of Walnut St., where Zalesny lives with his mother. The FBI issued a warrant and seized computers and electronic devices that same day. An examination revealed that he possessed 16 images of young girls in various sexual acts and sexual poses, and one image of child porn involving sexual bondage.

James Denney

Denney provided an undercover agent with web links to an online board featuring dozens of links to child pornography chat rooms, video/image board sites, as well as “community” support groups and online security advice for child pornographers.  WLWT5

Charles McClung

According to court documents, McClung, 64, was one of more than 1,500 people who used an unspecified online bulletin board to share child porn.  Pilot Online

Thomas Gene Duncan

Duncan used a dark web bulletin board and website called “Playpen” to search for and obtain child pornography. The server hosting Playpen was seized by the FBI

DoJ Press Release [link]