Michael Macartney, a 51-year-old man from Chesapeake, Virginia, is facing up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for conspiring to make and distribute videos showing animal torture, otherwise known as “animal crush” videos. “Torture King” Macartney ran several Telegram chat groups that shared twisted ideas of hurting and killing monkeys for fun.

Investigators discovered 500 animal abuse videos in Macartney’s care. He was accused of taking more than 300 payments between November 2021 and August 2022 for torture ideas, which he would send to videographers in Indonesia. According to the charges, videos of the suggested ideas involving “torture, murder, and sexually sadistic mutilation of animals, specifically juvenile and adult monkeys,” were then carried out and recorded by the filmmaker.

In one disturbing instance, Macartney raised funds to give a bonus to one videographer who used a jar of ants to torture a young monkey to death.

“Michael Macartney and his co-conspirators produced a collection of videos displaying abhorrent acts of animal torture that can only be described as evil,” Derek W. Gordon, HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge of the investigation, said in a statement.

Lady Freethinker and Action Primates have worked tirelessly for years to investigate and expose this cruelty and call for justice for the helpless victims of these torture rings. Lady Freethinker applauds law enforcement for their work in this case and other recent prosecutions worldwide.

Macartney is one of three Americans who were recently charged as part of this global monkey torture network, and additional cases are pending in the U.K. Being found guilty of conspiring to create these sickening animal crush videos carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison under U.S. federal law, according to the Washington Post. Macartney’s sentencing date is set for Sept. 4, 2024.