18.06.18 Darknet and Cybercrime Roundup
Silk Road “Right-Hand Man” Extradited to the United States
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York announced the extradition of Roger Clark, the suspected “right-hand man” of the Silk Road marketplace. Previous investigations by prominent darknet researchers identified Clark as the owner of the “Variety Jones,” “Plural of Mongoose,” and “Cimon” accounts on the Silk Road forums, marketplace, and various accounts on clearnet forums. A 2015 arrest in Thailand confirmed that the United States government had drawn a similar conclusion. During Ross Ulbricht’s trial, seized chat logs revealed that Ulbricht viewed Clark as a mentor and senior advisor.
In addition to the extradition, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney unveiled an indictment accusing Clark of narcotics conspiracy charges, money laundering charges, and hacking charges. In an interview after his arrest, Clark said that law enforcement would need years to access his laptops and bragged that even hough John Kerry had signed his extradition papers, the United States would never extradite him.
Dream Moderator “OxyMonster” Pleaded Guilty to Drug Trafficking
Gal Vallerius, the bearded Frenchmen the DEA arrested for selling drugs on the Dream darknet marketplace, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering. He had previously planned to fight the charges in court in an attempt to avoid the possible life sentenced he faced if found guilty. However, after several failed attempts at suppression of the evidence seized from his Samsung laptop, Vallerius’ lawyer came to an agreement with prosecutor Tony Gonzalez that removed the possible life sentence.
Vallerius admitted to selling a wide assortment of drugs on several darknet marketplaces and helping darknet market owners by moderating marketplace forums or transaction disputes. His sentence, though, will be decided at a later court date.
Canadian Police Bust Massive Dream Vendor “Mr Hotsauce”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced the arrest of a “prolific drug trafficker” who sold fentanyl on the Dream darknet marketplace under the pseudonym “Mr. Hotsauce.” The drug operation involved four known suspects: George Anthony Athanasiou, 25, Jona Claudia Faller, 28, Chadwicklee McLean, 20, and Cypress Araujo, 21. They have been charged with more than 40 collective drug trafficking and conspiracy crimes.
Athanasiou ran the operation with Faller. McLean and Araujo helped package drugs and drop the packages off at postal stations. The police, during the investigation, intercepted thousands of packages of drugs. Mostly fentanyl. Mr. Hotsauce was known as one of Canada’s largest fentanyl dealers.
Raleigh Xanax Vendor Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced a 78-month prison sentence that a U.S. district judge had passed down to Matthew Lee Yensan, 25, for possessing alprazolam, distributing alprazolam, possessing a firearm while committing a felony drug crime, money laundering, and using money derived from drug trafficking. Court documents filed after Yensan’s arrest revealed that the man had been pressing counterfeit Xanax bars in a storage unit in Raleigh, North Carolina, and then selling the pills to buyers through darknet marketplaces.
An unidentified party who had intimate knowledge of Yensan’s operation spoke a the Charlotte North Carolina DEA Tactical Diversion investigator about what he or she knew about Yensan. The person told the DEA agent that he or she had helped move the pill presses into the storage unit. The Charlotte DEA investigator notified his partners in Raleigh who then investigated and arrested Yensan in late 2017.
North Carolina Man Busted After Failed “Murder for Hire” Plot
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Christopher Nasca filed documents that revealed a bizarre “murder-for-hire” case that had been unfolding in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to the HSI agent, a Matthews, North Carolina, resident named Bryant Budi had hired someone on the darknet to kill one of his so-called “enemies” in Charlotte. His plan failed; something surprising to many, given the illigitamacy of effectively every ”murder-for-hire” site on the darknet.
Unbeknownst to Budi, the hitman he had contracted was an undercover federal agent. The agent stuck to the script, flew to Charlotte, took a picture outside the target’s house, and eventually collected his payment for the hit. As the hitman narrative unfolded, the HSI agent learned that Budi had been contacting another darknet vendor in an effort to obtain a radioactive chemical. He admitted he had planned to murder his “enemy” with the chemical. That vendor, too, was an undercover federal agent. An FBi agent. The agent shipped the “chemical” to an address in Charlotte and later arrested Budi for attempted murder.
Fentanyl Analogue Dealer Sentenced to 26 Years in Prison
Adam Scott Caward, 33, received a 312-month prison sentence for selling fentanyl analogs he had ordered on the internet. In June 2017, United States Customs intercepted packages of 4-Fluorobutyrfentanyl addressed to Caward. As investigators in Riverside conducted an investigation into Caward’s illegal activities, they learned that Caward had been selling fentanyl analogs for years and that at least one of Caward’s customers had fatally overdosed on acetyl fentanyl purchased from Caward.
Law enforcement arrested the man not long after the package interception and charged him with acetyl fentanyl trafficking. He pleaded guilty to the charge in September 2017. The charge, since the prosecutors had evidence that Caward’s drugs had caused one death, carried a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.