Arrest of One of the Most Prolific Dark Net Fentanyl Vendors in the World
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions together with U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Justin Herdman, announced last week the arrest of one of the most prolific dark net fentanyl vendors in the world, as a result of “Operation Darkness Falls.”
In a joint security operation carried out by the Department of Justice, 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), Operation Darkness Falls resulted in several arrests, charges and guilty pleas targetting people selling fentanyl and other drugs over the dark net.
Included in the arrests was MH4Life, the biggest seller of dark net fentanyl in the U.S. and the fourth biggest in the world.
During the course of the operation, investigators discovered that Mathew Roberts and Holly Roberts were the people behind MH4Life. Both are aged 35 and reside in San Antonio. Earlier this year, they were charged in court with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances plus other charges.
The duo operated under multiple dark net vendor accounts including MH4LIFE, TRAPPEDINTIME, FASTFORWARD and MRHIGH4LIFE. The duo operated and sold fentanyl on multiple dark net marketplace websites including Dream Market, Silk Road, AlphaBay, Darknet Heroes League, and Nucleus among others.
The two dealt in fentanyl, MethoxyAcetylFentanyl (MAF), other fentanyl analogues, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, marijuana, Xanax, Oxycodone and other drugs.
Major Dark Web Drug Bust
Between 2011 and 2018 MH4Life conducted 2,800 verified narcotics transactions on Dream Market; 500 verified narcotics transactions on Agora marketplace, and 719 transactions on Nucleus marketplace. Globally, MH4Life operated the highest number of verified transactions of fentanyl across the dark web, according to Dream Market.
MH4Life used encryption software, VPN, private messaging and other proxies via TOR to evade detection. They also used cryptocurrencies to purchase and get paid for narcotics on the dark web.
As stated in the Department of Justice press release, other cases charged as part of Operation Darkness Falls included:
DF44: Robert Kiessling was the third-largest fentanyl vendor in North America as of early this year, based on number of sales. Kiessling was arrested in coordination with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. A search of his residence uncovered fentanyl and other narcotics tied to the dark net scheme. He was released on bond in Canada and committed suicide.
The Source, BonnieNClyde: Nick Powell is charged with being a Xanax distributor and dark net money launderer. Powell was arrested and agents seized $438,000 in Bitcoin. He has been charged in federal court in Cleveland with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The case is pending.
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. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 5.
MotleyFool: James Halpin recently pleaded guilty to his role as a national dark net fentanyl vendor.
Panachecak: Ryan Kluth recently pleaded guilty to crimes involving fentanyl and child pornography via the dark net. His plea agreement calls for a sentence of approximately ten years in prison.
“Today’s announcements are a warning to every trafficker, every crooked doctor or pharmacist, and every drug company, every chairman and foreign national and company that puts greed before the lives and health of the American people: this Justice Department will use civil and criminal penalties alike and we will find you, put you in jail, or make you pay,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman added that whoever hides “behind a cloak of anonymity on the dark net will be uncovered and brought to justice for selling the drugs killing our friends and neighbors.”