The 26-year old resident of Colorado and one of the moderators of the darknet marketplace AlphaBay to face 11 years in prison of conspiring to engage in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the news on Tuesday.
AlphaBay darknet moderator, who was paid in bitcoin, is sentenced to 11 years in prison https://t.co/KSxrkA7TYh— The Block (@TheBlock__) September 2, 2020
AlphaBay was a known dark web contraband marketplace accessible through the Tor web browser, which allowed the buy and sale of drugs, guns, stolen identity information, credit card numbers, and other illicit items—but mostly drugs, said by Decrypt. Purchases were made solely via Bitcoin, Monero, and Ether because of its anonymity features. In 2017, the law enforcement authorities - to dismantle the illicit trading in this site- busted the irregular operation across three countries after almost three years of engaging in business. One of its administrators, Alexandre Cazes, was found hanging from a towel in a Bangkok jail suspected of committing suicide. The court dropped the indictment against him as a result of his death.
Bryan Connor Herrell, during his work as AlphaBay’s moderator, received payments in Bitcoin (BTC) to handle more than 20,000 disputes between vendors and buyers of the now-defunct marketplace. Reports revealed that Herrell used monickers to conceal his identity while engaging in this platform’s business. He served as a “scam watcher,” monitoring the marketplace for attempts to defraud users. Cointelegraph added that he was first charged for his role with AlphaBay in June 2019 in the Eastern District of California before pleading guilty in January. His sentencing was scheduled to take place in May but was delayed until recently, presumably due to restrictions caused by the current pandemic.
U.S. Attorney Scott said, “This sentence serves as further proof that criminals cannot hide behind technology to break the law. 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.”
Colorado Man Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Moderating Disputes on Darknet Marketplace AlphaBay https://t.co/Mts03khcGs— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) September 1, 2020
As of press time, the investigation of AlphaBay and its former administrators continues. The authorities have reported that they discovered Cazes’s laptop open and in an unencrypted state containing several text files that identified the passwords/passkeys for the AlphaBay website, the AlphaBay servers, and other online identities associated with AlphaBay.