Huge US federal joint operation against the drug sellers over the Dark Web. Operation Darkness Falls stopped a network of cyber criminals who operated several marketplace accounts
Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several arrests, charges and guilty pleas as a result of “Operation Darkness Falls,” a joint operation targeting people and organizations that sell fentanyl and other drugs over the dark net. It has been reported by a DOJ press release. According to court documents, MH4Life—Matthew and Holly Roberts, both 35 and of San Antonio—were charged earlier this year with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and other crimes. The Roberts’ created and operated several dark net marketplace accounts, including MH4LIFE, TRAPPEDINTIME, FASTFORWARD and MRHIGH4LIFE. They operated these accounts on dark net marketplace websites including Dream Market, Silk Road, AlphaBay, Darknet Heroes League, Nucleus and several others.
Matthew and Holly Roberts using MH4LIFE on Dark Net had the highest number of verified transactions worldwide of any fentanyl vendor based upon a review of Dream Market
According to the US DOJ, the Roberts’ used these accounts between 2011 and May 12, 2018 to possess and distribute fentanyl, MethoxyAcetylFentanyl (MAF), other fentanyl analogues, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, marijuana, Xanax, Oxycodone and other drugs. The MH4LIFE vendor account on Dream Market had 2,800 verified transactions with a 4.89/5 rating as of May 2018. Dream listed that MH4LIFE had 500 verified transactions on the Agora marketplace and 719 transactions on the Nucleus marketplace. The only products listed for sale by the account were illegal narcotics. Moreover, it had the highest number of verified transactions worldwide of any fentanyl vendor based upon a review of Dream Market.
The two cyber criminals used different tools and techniques to provide security for the organization and hide that they were mailing narcotics
The two cyber criminals used private messaging, encryption software, VPN and proxies through the TOR network to provide security for the organization. The Roberts displayed decoys, such as glow bracelets and other mundane items, to hide the fact they were mailing narcotics. They also purchased postage from third parties with cryptocurrency in an effort to conceal their activities. Customers used digital currency to purchase narcotics, which the Roberts sent to digital currency exchangers, where the funds were converted into official fiat currency and spent on person goods and services, as well as prepaid Visa and gift cards.
The other cases charged as part of Operation Darkness Falls
Other cases charged as part of the US joint federal Operation Darkness Falls include DF44 (Robert Kiessling), the third-largest fentanyl vendor in North America as of early this year, based on number of sales; The Source, BonnieNClyde (Nick Powell), charged with being a Xanax distributor and dark net money launderer; Dark King 22 (Antoin Austin of Euclid), recently pleaded guilty to operating a dark net fentanyl business from an apartment cohabitated with children and within a short distance from an elementary school; MotleyFool (James Halpin) pleaded guilty to his role as a national dark net fentanyl vendor, and Panachecak (Ryan Kluth). He recently pleaded guilty to crimes involving fentanyl and child pornography via the dark net.