“A Colorado man was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Drozd to 11 years in prison.” reads the press release published by the DoJ.
“According to court documents, Bryan Connor Herrell, 26, of Aurora, Colorado, was a moderator on the AlphaBay marketplace, an illegal website that operated on the so-called darknet.”
AlphaBay Market was considered to be the largest dark web drug marketplace with over 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals , and over 100,000 listings for stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware, and other computer hacking tools, firearms, and fraudulent services.
“A conservative estimation of USD 1 billion was transacted in the market since its creation in 2014. Transactions were paid in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.” reads a press release published by the Europol.
The AlphaBay Market went down on July 4th, 2017 without any explanation, many users that purchased products on the marketplace fearer the Exit-Scam.
A few days after the disconcerting disappearance, the Wall Street Journal reported that the black marketplace shut down after authorities in the United States, Canada, and Thailand conducted several raids and arrested Alexandre Cazes, who was suspected to be an operator of the AlphaBay Market.
According to court documents, Herrell served as a marketplace moderator and scam watcher between May 2016 and July 2017 using the monikers ‘Penissmith’ and ‘Botah.’
Prosecutors confirmed that the man was paid in Bitcoin for his role in the dark web marketplace.
In January, 2020, the man pleaded guilty to racketeering charges related to darknet marketplace AlphaBay
Now the court sentenced the crook to 11 years in prison.
“This sentence of an AlphaBay employee demonstrates the collective efforts of law enforcement authorities in the United States and Europe to find and prosecute transnational criminal actors wherever they hide,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The department will continue to work tirelessly to hold accountable criminals who use the Dark Web to facilitate illegal activity no matter where they may be located.”
“This sentence serves as further proof that criminals cannot hide behind technology to break the law,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott of the Eastern District of California. “Operating behind the veil of the darknet may seem to offer shelter from criminal investigations, but people should think twice before ordering or selling drugs online—you will be caught. This office will continue using all means available to pursue darknet-based crimes, particularly those involving fentanyl, opioids, and other dangerous drugs.”
Alexandre Cazes, the AlphaBay founder, was identified due to a mistake that most cybercriminals do, which allowed authorities to discover his real identity and led to his arrest.
Cazes was using his personal email Pimp_Alex_91@hotmail.com to send out support emails to all members of AlphaBay.
The email address was associated with a Canadian man named Alexandre Cazes with the birth date October 19, 1991, who was the president of a software company called EBX Technologies.
Local authorities have taken him into custody in Bangkok on July 5th, 2017 on the same day the police executed two raids on residences in Quebec, Canada.
According to the authorities, Cazes earned over $23 million in cryptocurrency operating AlphaBay, Thailandes police also seized cars and real estate valued at roughly $12.5 million after his arrest.
Unfortunately, Cazes was found dead in his jail cell on July 12, 2017, but authorities are still investigating the darkweb marketplace in the attempt to arrest other administrators.
(SecurityAffairs – hacking, AlphaBay)