An Auckland man has admitted trying to buy a girl aged under 7 for US$15,000 on the Dark Web.
Media is prevented from naming the man, his occupation and other identifying details due to strict suppression orders.
They also prevent the media revealing the exact way he was caught in an undercover sting by agents working for the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
The man pleaded guilty to a string of charges on Thursday, part way through his trial at Auckland District Court.
He admitted charges on dealing in someone under the age of 18 for sexual exploitation and possessing 417 objectionable material images.
Judge Allan Roberts will hear arguments about suppression on Friday and has set a sentencing date in September.
According to court documents, DIA agents posed as paedophiles on the Dark Web in order to capture the man.
The agents exchanged messages with the man, who used the online username “Kiwipedo”, offering him access to a 7-year-old girl.
The agents went so far as to suggest a hotel where “Kiwipedo” could meet with the girl.
But the true identity of “Kiwipedo” was unknown, until agents used a tracing device to find his location.
Using search warrants, they discovered 417 images on hard drives depicting children being sexually abused.
On one of the hard drives there was a folder called Silk Road – the same name as an online black market accessible only on the Dark Web.
Run by a man in the United States, it allowed users to browse anonymously and purchase child sex abuse material, people, weapons, drugs and even order assassinations.
That folder was inaccessible, however through a forensic application two other folders, called “illegal porn” and “child porn”, were found.
A password-protected excel file spreadsheet had a number of worksheets called “next week’s funds, smokes, child payments” on the bottom and included a number of online accounts.
Through forensic analysis, a file containing a number of search terms relating to child sex abuse material was found.
The court heard this could have been a stored list for possible search terms for users on the Dark Web.