Authorities Charge Californians in Connection with Dark Web Drug Ring
Federal prosecutors said multiple people in California managed a sprawling dark web drug ring. Allegedly, they were making millions of dollars via the operation, which they were managing from a gated community in Altadena. They mainly transacted in bitcoin and maintained a large network in the United States.
According to the Los Angeles Times, an Eastern District of California indictment charged two people with conspiracy to possess and distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to launder money.The police also charged at least 4 others with intent to deliver and distribute at least one of the substances.
Drug Businesses on the Dark Web
According to investigators, the group was operating on the Silk Road dark website under the business name “Purefiremeds.” However, after the subsequent shutdown of the Silk Road and arrest of its founder, Ross Ulbricht, the company switched over to AlphaBay. The business promptly rebooted on the Alphabay dark market as Humboldt Farms. The group ran the business from August 2013 to May 2017; and just last month, Alphabay was shuttered by police.
Per various sources, the group dealt in a smorgasbord of pills and powders. When the group operated Purefiremeds, they sold cannabis, cocaine, oxycodone, MDMA, LSD, Xanax, Ketamine, hydrocodone, and psilocybin. Court documents further stated when the group changed its name to Humboldtfarms, they managed a massive cannabis grow network. A Fresnobee article detailed that the group filled 78,000 orders of marijuana on the Alphabay dark website.
After The Silk Road was shut down in 2013, Farber and the co-conspirators began operating under the name HumboldtFarms, one of the largest vendors on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay, and filled more than 78,000 orders of marijuana throughout the United States and world, the government said.
The site mentioned the defendants exchanged roughly $7 million dollars in bitcoin for cannabis. The California arrests also coincide with the Alphabay shutdown, where authorities seized the site and gained access to information about many of the businesses that operated on it.
According to news sources, the defendants face up to 40 years in prison if convicted of a conspiracy to possess controlled substances. The defendants could also be fined up to $5 million. If they are convicted of distribution of the substance, they could face 5 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.
For money laundering, per the Fresnobee, “Farber and Lemons each face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000 or up to twice the value of the property involved in the transactions, whichever is greater.”
Do you think government will arrest more people in connection with dark web drug-based crimes? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, alphabaymarket.net
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