Orchid Club investigation - Customs Service

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #




From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All investigative records and files concerning the investigation of the Orchid Club child pornography ring.

The Orchid Club and the U.S. Customs Service's involvement in its investigation is described as follows in the Ninth Circuit's ruling in United States v. Tank, 200 F.3d 627:
"Tank belonged to a sixteen-member Internet chat room called the Orchid Club. Members of the Orchid Club discussed, traded, and produced child pornography. While online in the chat room, Orchid Club members traded digital pornographic images of children. [....] Based on this evidence, U.S. Customs agents obtained and executed an arrest warrant for Tank and a search warrant for his home."

The Customs Service investigation is also described in the Sixth Circuit's ruling in United States v. Brown, 237 F.3d 625:
"In 1996, the United States Customs Service (“USCS”) began an international child pornography investigation. The USCS learned that persons in several countries were using computer software called Internet *627 Relay Chat (“IRC”) to trade in child pornography, and that a secret, private IRC chat channel entitled “Orchid Club” was also being used for this purpose. "

It is also described in the First Circuit's ruling in United States v. Grant, 218 F.3d 72:
"The resolution of this appeal hinges on a September 1, 1998 affidavit executed by United States Customs Service (“Customs Service”) Special Agent Karen Booke (the “Booke Affidavit”) and submitted to a United States Magistrate Judge in support of a search warrant application. [....] The Booke Affidavit alleged, in pertinent part, the following facts: In May 1996, the Customs Service began to investigate the internet-based child pornography trading activities of Ronald Riva. Riva and associates utilized an internet “chat channel” known as the “Orchid Club” to traffic in digital images of child pornography, including images depicting child molestation. The investigation into the Orchid Club resulted in the discovery, by cooperating British law enforcement agents, of a chat channel called “# w0nderland,” which also was devoted to the distribution of child pornography. According to evidence obtained by British authorities during and following the arrest of Ian Baldock, a Briton who belonged to both the Orchid Club and # w0nderland, membership in the latter required the possession of 10,000 images of pre-teen children engaging in explicit sexual activity and the capacity to store these images on a server accessible to other members for electronic transfer via the popular File Transfer Protocol (“FTP”)."

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Shawn Musgrave

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

August 01, 2018 SHAWN MUSGRAVE MUCKROCK DEPT MR 58502 411A HIGHLAND AVE SOMERVILLE, MA 02144-2516 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2018-ICFO-53605 Dear Mr. MUSGRAVE: This acknowledges receipt of your July 19, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for all investigative records and files concerning the investigation of the Orchid Club child pornography ring.  Your request was received in this office on July 19, 2018. Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Per Section 5.5(a) of the DHS FOIA regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, ICE processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt. Although ICE’s goal is to respond within 20 business days of receipt of your request, the FOIA does permit a 10- day extension of this time period. As your request seeks numerous documents that will necessitate a thorough and wide-ranging search, ICE will invoke a 10-day extension for your request, as allowed by Title 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If you care to narrow the scope of your request, please contact our office. We will make every effort to comply with your request in a timely manner. Provisions of the FOIA allow us to recover part of the cost of complying with your request.  We shall charge you for records in accordance with the DHS Interim FOIA regulations, as they apply to media requesters.  As a media requester, you will be charged 10 cents per page for duplication; the first 100 pages are free.  We will construe the submission of your request as an agreement to pay up to $25.00. You will be contacted before any further fees are accrued. We have queried the appropriate program offices within ICE for responsive records. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that one of the processors in our office will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.
Your request has been assigned reference number 2018-ICFO-53605. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. To check the status of an ICE FOIA/PA request, please visit . Please note that to check the status of a request, you must enter the 2018-ICFO-XXXXX tracking number. If you need any further assistance or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please contact the FOIA office. You may send an e-mail to ice-foia@ice.dhs.gov, call toll free (866) 633-1182, or you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison, Fernando Pineiro, in the same manner. Additionally, you have a right to right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. You may contact OGIS as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769. (http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status) http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
Telephone: 1-866-633-1182
Visit our FOIA website at

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Dear Requestor,

We are continuing to process your request. If any further clarification is needed from your end we will contact you via email.

Please be assured that one of the processors in our office will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.

Thank you,


From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Good afternoon,

Your request is currently in the queue to be processed by an analyst. Requests are processed on a first in, first out basis and timing can vary greatly depending on the volume of responsive documents received.


From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Good morning,

In regards to 2018-ICFO-53605, document(s) responsive to your request have been located and forwarded to this office for review. We will process your request as expeditiously as possible. Upon completion of the processing, all documents that can be released will be made available to you at the earliest possible date. We sincerely apologize for the delay you are experiencing and appreciate your continued patience.


From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The password to open the responsive records delivered in a separate email for 2018-ICFO-53605 is listed below. If you do not receive the email containing the responsive documents within a reasonable timeframe please contact our office at .
Document Password: WP97wkSd
US DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement FOIA Office

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A copy of documents responsive to the request.