Melbourne men plead guilty over dark web drug operation

Melbourne Dark Web case – Two men face deportation over their involvement in a dark web drug smuggling and trafficking enterprise after mailing out sales inside children’s toys.

Primary school friends Steen McBeth and Jackson Li, both 28, were arrested in October 2017 after an Australian Federal Police investigation, with the help of the FBI, uncovered an international multimillion-dollar importation operation paid for with bitcoin.

Melbourne Dark Web
Drugs seized by AFP during 2017 operation | AFP

On Wednesday the County Court heard details of their alleged involvement for the first time after the pair came to the attention of federal police during Operation Crozet in February 2017. The two New Zealand-born men face likely deportation.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Buckland said between March and September 2017 AFP intercepted 123 international packages and Australia Post a further 14, all which contained illicit drugs linked to the illegal operation.

Inside were 1.8 kilograms of cocaine, 5.4 kilograms of MDA and 886 grams of ketamine, bound for 23 different post office boxes and parcel lockers in the Melbourne area, many which had been set up using other people’s driver’s licences.

Police soon learned that Mr Li had rented a two-bedroom unit on Rowell Drive in Mernda for the criminal organisation to store and package illicit drugs.

There, on multiple occasions, the two men were seen coming and going from the property carrying black duffle bags.

During the same time Mr McBeth was seen visiting the Epping post office on High Street and the Westfield Plenty Valley shopping centre at Mill Park.

On August 31, he was also seen purchasing a trolley load of toys from Target and a trolley full of pillows and cushions from Kmart at the Westfield centre. Police said those items were used as a “cover load” to conceal drugs posted in the mail.

While under surveillance, Mr Li was seen visiting the Wood Street post office at Thomastown and another at Bundoora.

In total police said the drug operation used 25 separate post office boxes and parcel lockers across Melbourne all registered using 15 different names.

On October 27, 2017, police raided the pair’s homes at Dalziel Drive in Mernda and Barkers Road in Kew, seizing various items including a black 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo, cash-counting machines, more than $159,000 in cash and printed labels marked ‘Maurice Blackburn Lawyers’.

In total, the pure net weight of all drugs seized as part of Operation Crozet amounted to 30.93 kilograms. This included 1,4 butanediol; methamphetamine; cocaine; MDA; MDMA; heroin and ketamine.

Small amounts of cannabis and testosterone were also seized as part of the federal police operation.

Crown prosecutor Andrew Buckland said while most of the drug importations and trafficking transactions were made using bitcoin, some money was then transferred into Australian currency and withdrawn as cash.

“The importation and trafficking were facilitated online via the ‘DarkWeb’ which comprises websites which exist on an encrypted network and cannot be located using standard search engines or internet browsers,” Mr Buckland said.

Mr McBeth and Mr Li both pleaded guilty to a number of charges in the County Court on Wednesday.

McBeth’s charges include importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, and trafficking a commercial quantity of both a drug of dependence and a border-controlled drug between February 6 and October 9, 2017.

Drugs seized by AFP during 2017 operation | AFP

Mr Li has been charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of both a drug of dependence and a border-controlled drug.

The court heard both men are likely to be deported back to New Zealand after serving out likely jail terms.

Mr McBeth moved to Australia as a 21-year-old while Mr Li came to the country as a nine-year-old but neither ever gained citizenship.

Mr McBeth was supported in court on Wednesday by his parents who’d flown in from New Zealand while Mr Li’s girlfriend sat nearby.

Both are set to be sentenced on December 19.

Tutanota forced to transmit e-mails unencrypted to LE

Tutanota is not anonymous anymore – According to a ruling by the Itzehoe (Germany) district court, the email provider Tutanota will have to allow investigators to access suspects’ emails unencrypted after receiving the court order. The German company had not complied with a first request made in October 2018.

Tutanota

Tutanota should let authorities monitor chats in real time

The district court of Itzehoe asked Tutanota to make the e-mails of suspects available to the police unencrypted and in real time. Tutanota was sentenced to obey court orders in the future. In its ruling, the local court refers to Tutanota’s obligation to disclose data for investigation purposes in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code § 100a and the Telecommunications Act § 11. In addition, a fine of 1,000 euros was imposed. The management of the e-mail provider announced that they would not continue to defend themselves legally against this order.

The proceedings took place after cyber criminals threatened several companies with their malware last year and communicated with the companies via Tutanota. The police demanded full access to the e-mails in order to carry out their investigations. However, Tutanota has encrypted all customer data by default. This also applies to the user’s calendar, notes or cloud storage. All e-mails from one Tutanota customer to another are also automatically encrypted, similar to Protonmail.

Authorities demand their own backdoor

The German provider advertises itself as the “world’s safest e-mail service”. Six million customers now use the service, many of which have a free account. Tutanota must now set up a kind of official backdoor in order to avoid further fines, so that the police can immediately access the suspects’ e-mails after receiving the court letter. CEO Matthias Pfau told that instead he would rather concentrate on completely different things than give the authorities extended access rights.

EU e-mail providers not very popular in certain circles

For cybercriminals, this news is no accident. Every year, the German competitor Posteo voluntarily admits the number of official LE-inquiries in its transparency report. For years, Posteo had also unsuccessfully tried to defend itself in court against the disclosure of the data.

Anyone who wants to break German law rarely uses a provider within Europe anyway. In the digital underground, the e-mail services of offshore companies or Russian e-mail providers have long been highly popular. Where no EU legislation is in place, no operator can be forced to disclose customer data by court order.

Paedophile who built up bank of sick pictures over 12 years is spared jail

Paedophile who built up bank of sick pictures over 12 years is spared jail – A pharmacist who spent 12 years building an online library of child pornography and violent rape fantasies about his colleagues has avoided jail after claiming he was left traumatised from a kidnapping ordeal.

Paedophile
Richard Brierley leaving Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, where he was facing indecent images charges (Picture: Cavendish Press)

Richard Brierley, 48, saved images of children aged as young as seven and snapped secret pictures of co-workers, writing chilling descriptions of raping and torturing them. Officers who raided his home in 2017 also discovered a video of the devout churchgoer carrying out a sex act while looking at a photo of a colleague, as well as pictures of children as they played at school and a list of children in year eight at a local school. Appearing at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Brierley admitted 19 charges of making indecent photographs of children between 2005 and 2017 and one of distributing photographs. However, he escaped with two years jail suspended for two years after claiming he had been left a recluse when he was the victim of an abduction and kidnapping in 1994. Prosecutor Miss Lisa Boocock said: ‘When police arrived at his address the defendant immediately indicated the devices on which material was stored. ‘Across the devices the range of images showed an age range of children starting at seven years going up to about 15 years.

‘Also on the devices was worrying content and it is clear the defendant had been taking covert images of work colleagues. ‘Accompanying those was detailed description of exactly of what sex acts the defendant desired of those colleagues, comments about Rohypnol – he worked at a pharmacy – comments about abduction and rape of colleagues and fantasy about torture as well. ‘There was a video of him carrying out a sex act whilst looking at a picture of a work colleague plus covert images of children in a school and a list of children who attended at a local school in year eight. ‘The defendant was interviewed, and he accepted during that interview that he had a sexual interest in children and needed help.’ Brierley’s defence said he was a ‘man of faith’ who ‘has had absolutely no output for sexual motivations’. Defence barrister Benjamin Knight said: ‘This is a man who from around about 1994 became a recluse at that point he became a student in Salford and was kidnapped and held hostage in his own home at knife point. ‘He was a victim of somebody who became known as ‘The Snapper’ – he gave evidence in those proceedings and the man received five years for his actions.

‘Since then this defendant has spent most of his time at home, in university or at work. ‘He is a man of faith and he has strongly held views about intimate relationships before marriage. ‘He has never been married and is somebody who has had absolutely no output for sexual motivations. ‘Sometimes that can lead people in a difficult direction online where mainstream porn is readily available, then on the dark web where that sort of content becomes more available. ‘It appears he had begun writing a fantasy story he had stopped writing when he realised his writing had moved from writing about fantasy characters to people in his work setting. ‘This is not a man who is creating content in order to upload to the internet this is a man who is downloading content and who has taken considerable steps to exclude himself from the internet.’ Brierley was ordered to get treatment in a Sex Offender programme and sign the Sex Offender Register for ten years.

His laptop, tablet and various other devices were seized and a total of 177 still or moving images were found – 142 of them of the most serious Category A pictures. While sentencing, Judge Angela Nield told Brierley that his ‘personal tragedy’ appeared to be the ‘root of his offending behaviour’, but said punishment was needed to ‘send a warning message’ to others. She said: ‘You are a man who has not troubled these courts nor the police in any way it is very sad indeed to see somebody of previous good character, a man who held a qualified and responsible job who had been to university and who had a close and loving family before these courts. ‘What applies to every case like this is the fact the children who are viewed are all real.

‘It is easy for those who view these images to imagine that these children are somehow different to the children who are seen going about their business, in school, enjoying their lives, the children who are related to us. ‘But children who are made to experience acts these are all somebody’s children. ‘Many of them will grow up and experience huge physical and psychological difficulties with normal healthy relationships into the future and possibly for the rest of their lives. ‘I have discovered it was a personal tragedy in the form of you being a victim of significant crime that appears to have led to the development of a solitary, almost nomadic existence you have and for that reason personal and intimate relationships are extremely difficult.

‘That appears to be the root of your offending behaviour. ‘You have used this interim period to change your life and seek help of a professional nature. ‘But punishment is also needed to send out a warning message to others who may wish to act as you have done and to prevent the proliferation of these vile and disgusting images on the internet.’

DeepDotWeb Admin Interview from Behind Bars

DeepDotWeb Admin Interview – Yesterday Israeli Newspaper Yediot interviewed one of the admins and owner of DeepDotWeb who is currently in French prison, Tal Freihar. Through the interview he claimed that DeepDotWeb is just an ordinary news site and nothing more. Interview is conducted through his Attorney Nick Kaufman. The original article is in Hebrew language. Here is the translated version of the full interview.

DeepDotWeb Admin Interview

DeepDotWeb Admin Interview – The FBI are convinced that, now that Tal Prihar has finally been arrested, they have hit a huge blow on the Dark web. Prihar is accused of giving anyone who just wants to buy dangerous drugs, firearms, hacked credit cards and whatnot, as if it were Amazon or Ali Express, only of crystal meth and submachine guns. Along the way, he and his partners have made $ 15 million. But from his cell in prison, Prihar tells a completely different version: without me, all those clients – could even die.

District Attorney Scott Brady was particularly proud of this crackdown. “This is the most significant law enforcement activity to date in Darknet,” he stated emphatically. “This case marks the first seizure of the illicit markets infrastructure in which dangerous drugs are sold in Darknet.” The severe indictment filed by Plaintiff Brady in a Pennsylvania court outlined: one sophisticated site that allegedly became the central gateway to the dark web. The site, according to the indictment, provided links to some of Darknet’s biggest underground marketplaces, allowing anyone to buy relatively easily and safely, Heroin, Crystal, firearms, malware, hacked credit cards, and this is only a partial list. Come in, pay – and the package with the drugs or the gun is
already on your way. The indictment alleges that FBI covert agents through this venture were able to order, for example, 10 grams of crystal meth ($ 470), 3.5 grams of heroin ($ 82.38), 10 grams of coke ($ 480), two breached credit cards ( $ 37.80) and “ransom software” – which “locks” the attacked computer until its owner agrees to pay – at $ 82.38.

And there was something else about this gateway to Darknet – Israelis set up and managed. The senior of them, 38-year-old Tal Prihar, is currently awaiting extradition to the US in the Presence prison, one of France’s toughest detention facilities in a suburb of Paris. This week, in an exclusive 7-day interview, Prihar answers questions sent to him through his attorney, Nick Kaufman. For him, not only did he not commit any crime – but its opposite. He saved lives in general. “I don’t know that any specific crime was ever committed just because of something I listed or posted, on the contrary,” he claims. “Our goal was to prevent crimes against personal and economic freedoms and try to minimize bodily and mental harm. There was nothing in our information to convince or coerce people into doing something they did not intend to do, regardless of us, for better or worse.”

Yediot: But how will you react if it turns out, let’s say, that your way of buying guns is? Or a drug dealer used your site, and sold to a 14-year-old who died?

Freihar: “To be clear: we did not create the demand. Neither the guns nor the drugs. So if someone was going to buy a gun and kill people or buy drugs – he would do it regardless of us. We were just a middle filter, explaining how to use the markers” (The nickname for the illicit trade sites in Darcant – NIS), in general in a safe way, to warn of dangers, poisonings and thefts, and to refer to places that we believed would be the least harm to those who had already decided to use them. We did not recommend and did not push. We have never put up a sponsored advertisement or article to promote the use of any site or any illegal product or other.

“In today’s world, information is accessible to everyone. It’s just like WhatsApp, Telegram, Wicker, Signal or Messenger of Facebook, etc. – providing end-to-end encryption, and also providing anonymity to anyone who wants to keep it private from corporate or tyrannical regimes; but the same encryption Can also be used by drug traffickers, weapons, human trafficking and terrorists. There is nothing to do, this is how technology works today. I have no doubt that in
the absence of the site, many more people would have died from drugs they bought online. And by the way, in general there aren’t many: 99 percent of Darknet weapons sellers are undercover FBI agents, and those who think To try to buy a weapon there, ready to get arrested.”

Yediot:

For many years, the Darknet has been a global hub for drug trafficking, weapons, hardcore pornography and a link between criminal and terrorist organizations. Unlike the “open web” of the Internet – which includes all well-known WWW sites, social networks and more – DarkNet allows for almost completely anonymous activity, making it a particularly wild and dangerous place, dominated by hackers and underworld people. Browsing Darknet is through a unique browser (TOR) and typing in specific addresses (called Onion addresses). An inexperienced surfer who goes into Darknet will find it difficult to get online, and if he tries to buy drugs, weapons or porn
at “malls”, he may find he has been a victim of scams, snatched viruses, blackmail, whose credit number has been circulated, or at best his subsequent knock on the door of his house. . And that’s exactly where Tal Prihar and his partner, Michael Phan, 34, came into the picture: They set up a unique platform called DeepDotWeb, which became a “gateway” entry into “markets” in Darknet. DeepDotWeb included direct links to their trade sites, explanations, reviews and ratings. US lawmakers claim that through Prihar & Co.’s venture, almost anyone could enter Darknet’s illegal marketplaces, and then buy (and sell) everything there.

According to the indictment, all this was not done kindly: the “marketers” who received referrals from the site paid Prihar & Associates fees. The payment was transferred in Bitcoin, and the proceeds were estimated to be about $ 15.5 million.

Freihar: does not deny the establishment of the site, but makes a principled claim: Me? I just provided the link. What people have purchased or done through the site is no longer my responsibility. And if so, the other way around, he claims, his activity has prevented drug purchasers from acquiring poison or being robbed of being robbed online. “There is no single case in the world that anyone has been charged with committing the offense we are charged with,” Prihar answers to our questions from his prison in France. “And in the absence of such precedent, we never thought that if we did something, it would be considered an offense. We are marketing people overall.”

Yediot: Haven’t you had any moral issues with the site-attributed activity?

Freihar: “Moral issues with what exactly? Provide people with information designed to keep them up to date and more secure and educated about activities they might be undertaking? The site in its publications saved thousands of lives, preventing them from buying poisons from people who posted one thing and provided another. It saved tens of millions from people, Who knew which site not to turn to and who was going to steal their money. That way moral problems? Not at all. We were not a drug advertisement. We were a repository of information. “

He (Freihar) is 38, married and father of four, who studied and grew up in Maalot and Kfar Rosim. According to him, from childhood he was attracted to technology and engaged in “building, understanding, dismantling, assembling, developing, playing”. At the age of 20, after a shortened service (due to asthma) in the Ordnance Corps, he moved to England, where he discovered both the online world – and religion. After three years of strengthening, he returned to Israel, and very quickly became a type of local Internet marketing guru. He had a successful blog, he was interviewed in the professional press, lectured to an audience who wanted to know how to use this
thing – the internet – to sell, and what the hell was going on to make Google promote your site, not the competitor’s.

Yediot: So how was the idea of ​​setting up an access site for Darknet?

Freihar: “As an Internet marketing person, I’ve always been looking for a niche that hasn’t yet been touched, and that has a chance of developing crazy. So, I set up a site, which I still didn’t decide what it was going to be: a jokes site? Memes? News? A blog? And I just started throwing different types of Content, when I market it on all kinds of relevant media. At the same time, I have been using analytics tools to determine which types of content are producing bigger buzz and traffic (networking and user traffic – NIS). And then came the revelation: started to come up with articles about the Darknet, and I saw that there was a demand for it.“

Yediot: This means?

Freihar: “People love darknet information? So we’ll bring them news from there. Initially, it was at the top level of posts from darknet forums, with the addition of a hand-blown headline. I found that not only did people respond to everything I wrote, but almost every week for my little experimental site It was quoted in huge media outlets such as CNN, Forbes, Wierd and Techcrunch. In fact, all the uniqueness of my scope was that I was the only one to download Tor software, I scoured forums in search of sensational posts and put them first. “

The next step was to create a user guide, a site that Prihar describes as “Darknet Tutorials Section.” Freihar: “I thought if they were buying in Darknet, they would need explanations: how to keep their security, how to get Bitcoin, what software to use to surf the net an recommendations on such services and others. I was on hand with what is interesting and what is driving traffic. The site has become the number one authority in the field of darkness, very simple, because no one has ever done the same.

“Establishing was the easy part. But turning a website into a traffic machine, it required investment, skills, and also being in the right place at the right time.
The site provided a list of active Darknet sites, ranked by users’ trust level and ranking, with live monitoring of their activity. The only source in the world with
a consensus, and the only place that publishers in Darknet turned to, to put their site in. Big, who’s not there – didn’t exist. Bottom line, the site was a marketing capability experiment that far exceeded expectations. There was also a challenge and the possibilities, openly this was a news site and information services.

Yediot: How did you become famous and who were the surfers?

Freihar:  “We did not publish anything. We were a site that tracked and served everyone who had a particular interest in Darknet: curious, buying, selling, investigating, law enforcement – dozens of times information from the site starred in FBI presentations, Interpol, etc. – Communication, activists. About a million and more each month. Most people found the site on Google, others came through forums, social media or mention of the site on other sites. “

In the US indictment, things are described a little more bleakly. “The defendants have referred hundreds of thousands of users to the Markets who have made hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions, including the purchase of illegal drugs, such as fentanyl (a powerful analgesic – NMS), carfentanil (a drug so powerful that it is approved for veterinary use only). For example, elephant and horse anesthesia before surgery), cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, weapons, including assault rifles, viruses and computer hacking, stolen financial information and credit card numbers.”

For a while it worked great, and DeepDotWeb was the gateway to the Darknet for surfers all over the world. One of the biggest “markets” in Darknet was the Alpha Bay Market, which offered drugs, fake IDs, viruses, weapons, toxic chemicals and more. The site was closed by law enforcement in July 2017, but according to the indictment, by then nearly a quarter of the transactions it had generated were following the references from Freihar’s website. Another market, called “Hanza Market”, offered heroin, cooks, fraud and counterfeiting services and more. It was also closed in 2017, after the indictment reported that some 198,000 users were referred
to it from DeepDotWeb. The revenue, it is alleged, was transferred through fake companies to banks in Israel, Georgia and Latvia. FBI agents from Pennsylvania, who embarked on the venture, began to see how dozens of state residents order through the links provided by DeepDotWeb quantities of cocaine, crystal meth, ALD and more.


After the activities of undercover agents and a special police cyber unit called CODE – J, which was founded just for the purpose of operating in Darknet – the site was seized. “Sites like DeepDotWeb pose a global threat,” said Robert Jones, a special FBI agent in charge of the investigation. “The action should convey a message that we are following the operators of such dangerous sites.” The US prosecutor filed a serious indictment against Prihar and Phan, the main one being money laundering offenses.

The Americans have issued international arrest warrants against Phan and Prihar. Phan was arrested in Israel and released after six days. His lawyer, Yaron Barzilai, alleges that the indictment was inadvertently issued against him, so there is currently no extradition warrant. Prihar, who was then living in Brazil, jumped on a Passover to visit the country, and on his way back stopped for a connection at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Suddenly, four French policemen
handcuffed him to his wife and children, and he has been waiting for his extradition ever since. “I left my wife my wallet, I didn’t break up properly, and from there life ended as I knew them,” he says.

DeepDotWeb Homepage after the site has been seized by FBI

Yediot: Did you not know that you have a extradition order?

Freihar:  “No. I knew an investigation was underway, I knew they were dealing with me on a server. Their interrogations were about the same as an elephant in a china shop. For about a year before the arrest, I was alerted by all sorts of factors that it was going to happen. But the truth is In general, to this day, I really don’t know – that we have committed any offense. The indictment is full of inaccuracies, lies, debasements and weighting of things beyond all proportion. All the same, I will refer to the expected legal process. “

Yediot: It is claimed that you received $ 15 million in commission money from any transaction made through you.

Freihar: “There was no such amount. The amounts listed there for the use of links to illegal sites are absolute lies. We only linked to those sites. And everything else is a productive imagination, which will become clear later. We did not sell or buy from us. People used the links that appeared with us to buy from the sites, And we are accused of having these purchases we received a commission. That’s the whole charge: one clause of money laundering conspiracy. Not selling drugs, no weapons, nothing. Anything else, it’s their explanation to prove the charges. “

Yediot: So what was your agreement with the dealers?

Freihar: “Contrary to claims, the site never charged or agreed to bribe for a site listing. The terms were purely technical and included security, reliability and damage mitigation parameters. We had no agreement with anyone. Our requirement was: meet minimum security standards, do not Try to steal, avoid selling material that could harm someone, be attentive to the comments and do not create unnecessary dramas. “

Yediot: And you didn’t cut a coupon from that? Was it heaven?

Freihar: “We were not marketing. We are marketing people who created projects to earn them satisfaction – and money too. The site did not exist for heaven. Not really. The charges against us refer to only about ten sites indexed, out of hundreds of other sites, which we did not claim to have derived from any coupon. It is undisputed that at least most of the index was “for heaven,” if you want to call it that. The site never sold a sponsored article. All of the (technological) product reviews it provided were to support the product, and never for a fee. Legal and illegal factors, and you won’t find one to tell you that we managed to get us to advertise for money something we did not agree to publish without money or other And that’s why we were considered the world’s most trusted site in the field, and there’s no dispute about that. “

Yediot: What did you do with all the money?

Freihar: “What money? The site has earned many very different and completely legal marketing channels: Bitcoin gambling websites, anonymous VPN software, Bitcoin exchanges, any legitimate revenue generated from this site or other sites we have entered into the bank. And paid full tax on it. The least I have left of all my income, which either the Americans intend to take, or have gone to lawyers. “

Yediot: It is alleged that you deposited some of the money in accounts abroad and in Israel.

Freihar: “Who claimed and where we claimed that we deposited something illegal in Israel? We have a company that has been operating in Israel for many years in the marketing field. Any income from it was deposited in Israel and taxed on it and everything is legal, we are not charged with any offense in Israel, and no account in our country is occupied.”

Yediot: One of the allegations is that DeepDotWeb also issued warnings against activities of various law enforcement agencies in Darknet. “The claim as if we have reported enforcement activity is a malicious distortion of reality, with the aim of blackening our faces and coloring us as outlaws,” Freihar argues…

Freihar: “The reality is that we reported it like every other cyber news site in the world reported when the source of the information was publications of the law enforcement agencies themselves. Did we add the headline ‘You should be careful’? – Obviously, but the attempt to draw us as if we held confidential intelligence about enforcement activities and made it public In order to disrupt lawmaker deals, it is simply a scam designed to blacken us, just wrong, period. “

Yediot: How did you actually get on?

Freihar: “Don’t know how they came up or what they came up with. Just the allegations. As far as the links are concerned – no need for a cyber commando team. The links appeared on the site for six years. The question is what happened now that they decided to drop us. From my impression, the trigger was a commercial site Contrary to the impression they were trying to create, this investigation had no sophistication to take pride in. Because we didn’t think there was an offense, nothing was hidden when they wanted to take us down. We just had to decide when. “

Yediot: FBI agents purchased drugs, etc., through your site.

Freihar: “The covert agent didn’t buy from me. He bought from sites I linked to. Unfortunately or not – that’s the truth.”

For six months Prihar has been detained in the Frances prison, a 40-minute drive from Paris. It is a prison facility with a chilling history: at the time of the Nazi occupation, many French resistance fighters and captured British intelligence personnel were imprisoned there. “The conditions are, to say the least,” says Prihar. “Most people are crammed into a room of 3 – 4.5 square meters. Three people 20 hours a day. My cell is decorated with many paintings and inscriptions of ISIS or Nazis condemning the Jews. The rooms are full of blood-sucking insects, and my whole body is full of bleeding bites, the yards are full of rats, and there are many cases of tuberculosis and disease here. I experience antisemitism here, lots of loneliness, sadness, concerns and concern for the family. When I was arrested, one of the policemen boasted: ‘We caught another Jew who took money’, this is about the recurring motive of the French to me and all the foreigners, like a
terrorist. Since I was arrested, no Israeli official has visited me. The only bright spot is the Chabad righteous who bring kosher food and Jewish activity with the exception of the Jews. Because cases of violence happen every half hour or so, the prison guards are stressing and therefore are closing us more. The feeling here is big sitting on a barrel of gunpowder just waiting to explode. The stress is unbearable. “

Yediot: What is your lesson from the affair?

Freihar: “I regret that over the years I took under my protection people who made a lot of money from working with me and Michael, just to turn our backs on us now. My lesson is that the law systems work together as a neighborhood bully, and that includes ignoring the rights of people and their children and building precedent cases, to serve their agendas. The only thing that scares me is staying with this lack of knowledge for a long time. It is very burdensome for sanity, so hopefully everything will end soon. “

DeepDotWeb Admin Interview ends here. The battle for Tal Freihar on the other hands is just started. We as a whole darknet community have to support and protest things like this. We, DeepWebMarketsReview will do our best to be and stay main alternative for DeepDotWeb.

Berlusconi Market Seized by Italian Authorities

Berlusconi Market Seized by Italian Authorities – Italian financial police “Guardia di Finanza” shut down the ‘Berlusconi market’ black market hosted on the Tor network and arrested three administrators.

The site was managed by two individuals that go online with nicknames of “VladimirPutin” with the role of administrator and “EmmanuelMacron” as moderator.

Berlusconi Market Seized
Berlusconi Market Homepage – Photo by Guardia di Finanza

The investigation, started last May as part of an investigation dubbed the Darknet operation. The police were investigating the traffic and sale of narcotic substances and identified a vendor, known in the Dark Web environment as g00d00. During the operation, law enforcement agents seized 2.2 kg of drugs (cocaine, ketamine, MDMA) that were ready to be marketed on the black marketplaces along with 163 ready-made ecstasy tablets and 78 stamps impregnated with LSD. 

The analysis of personal computers, notebooks, and smartphones seized during the operation allowed the investigators to trace the administrators of the Black Market called Berlusconi Market.

Since January 2019, Berlusconi Market represented the most important dark web market place, both in terms of quantity of items for sale and the volume of trade with over 100,000 announcements of illegal products.

From January 2019 ‘Berlusconi market’ represented the most important dark web market with over 100,000 announcements of illegal drugs and weapons products. Sellers were also offering for sale fake documents and banknotes. 

“It is the fourth investigation in the world aimed at making the dark web inoffensive”. said the chief prosecutor of Brescia, Carlo Nocerino. “This is the fourth operation after those of the US FBI and the Dutch Police agsinst Silk Road, AlphaBay and Hansa Market” “According to those who investigate “the Berlusconi Market is the fourth example in the world of the Black Market of the Dark web today that is no longer operational”.

The popular blackmarket place was also offering for sale malware, hacking tools, hacking and bulletproof services, and stolen payment card data.

“From the complex of technical investigations carried out, it emerged that the three subjects established a criminal association for the administration of the Berlusconi Market platform, because: – they incurred the expenses related to its operation; – have made management decisions; – they were in possession of administrator credentials; – they divided among them the illicit proceeds accrued for about 41 bitcoins, equal to about 400,000.00 euros against a total volume of annual transactions equal to about 2 million euros.” reads the press release published by the Guardia di Finanza.

The trio is accused of operating the Berlusconi Market which was aimed at users from all over Europe, USA, Canada, Australia.

Silk Road Vendor ‘Pharmville’ Pleads Guilty

Silk Road Vendor Pleads Guilty – A Columbus man is facing prison time after pleading guilty in New York this week to attempting to cash in on more than $19 million in illegal online drug sales in a case involving cryptocurrencies exchanged on the so-called “dark web.”

Silk Road Vendor

Hugh Brian Haney, 61, admitted to felony counts of concealment money laundering and engaging in a financial transaction in criminally derived property. The charges carry maximum prison sentences of 20 years and 10 years, respectively.

“Peddling drugs on the dark web does not provide anonymity forever, as Hugh Haney can attest,” Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a released statement following Haney’s guilty plea in federal court in Manhattan Wednesday.

According to court documents, Haney sold illicit drugs online through a dark web site known as “Silk Road,” as part of a narcotics vendor group named “Pharmville.” Sales through the site were completed using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin rather than direct cash exchanges.

Investigators shut down Silk Road in 2013, and Haney’s involvement as a “high-ranking member” of Pharmville eventually came to light. According to documents, investigators gathered computers and other evidence of the activities during a warranted search of Haney’s home. Among other files was a saved “to-do list” referencing Silk Road, Pharmville and “large-scale narcotics trafficking.”

According to court documents, over a period of a few days in early 2018, Haney transferred and exchanged Bitcoins for more than $19 million derived from the drug sales.

Haney was arrested in Ohio in July and transferred to New York authorities. He faces sentencing early next year.

Full Statement by USAO about Silk Road Vendor Pharmville can be found here

Police behind DDoS attacks?

Police behind DDoS attacks? In a recent report by Misha Glenny, a multilingual British journalist, specializing in southeast Europe, global organized crime and cyber-security, something interesting has turned out.

Police behind DDoS attacks

If it hadn’t been for this brazen theft the police might have waited longer before making their arrests. But the rapidity of events made it clear that they already knew the identities of WSM’s administrators, and that – unlike Dream Market, with its high-level security – it was a site that could easily be brought down by low-tech means. Could it be that the DDOS directed against Dream Market – the only way law enforcement could interfere with its activities – was arranged in order to herd its users elsewhere, to a poorly defended site that the police already effectively controlled? No official spokesman from the police forces involved would confirm this but a senior German law enforcement official who had previously worked at Europol admitted to us that this was what happened. So law enforcement knows a few tricks too. But any impact on the drugs market of an operation like this is only ever temporary. New sites with new rules are popping up all the time. The party continues.

Remember, just because one source is claiming such activities are actually happening doesn’t mean it is true. However, Misha Glenny is not a journalist who needs to fake quotes. Instead this dude is a trusted source among cyber crime related topics. While there is nothing we can do regarding our previous activities there is something we can change to prevent such operations being successful in the future.

40 to 50% learned from their mistakes after the Alphabay / Hansa seizure. So the impact of the Dream-DDoS which lead to the WallStreet seizure along with its arrests shortly after might not have been that heavy. Though, people need to understand greediness will get them into jail. Its better to keep your paranoia level high and believe this information instead of ignoring it.

Next time you see a market closing its doors for whatever reason, don’t run to the next market immediately. Lay low for the next couple of months and continue your business after some verified news about what actually happened appeared. Being greedy will and has always been the key factor for someone being caught. Its better to minimize your income during those happenings instead of being jailed by LE just because you were fooled you once again.

Los Angeles Man Pleads Guilty to selling weed on the dark web

FRESNO, Calif. — Christopher Michael Barnes, 36, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute narcotics, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

Weed Dark Web

According to court documents, Barnes distributed marijuana through the vendor account HumboldtFarms on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay from March 2015 through May 2017. HumboldtFarms was one of the largest vendors on AlphaBay, allegedly completing tens of thousands of orders for marijuana on the site to customers throughout the United States. Barnes’ co-conspirators, William James Farber, Bryan Anthony Lemons, Michael Angelo Palma, Richard Thomas Martinsen, and Faysal Alkhayat have all pleaded guilty in case 1:17‑cr‑188 LJO.

This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Bakersfield Police Department with assistance from the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Ross Pearson are prosecuting the case.

Barnes is scheduled to be sentenced on January 27, 2020. Barnes faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

Announcement by U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott can be found here

Press release by United States Department of Justice can be found here

DEA Warns of Counterfeit Pills Containing Fentanyl

DEA Warns of Counterfeit Pills Containing Fentanyl – Federal authorities in San Diego issued a warning to the public Monday regarding the severe dangers posed by counterfeit prescription pills containing the extremely potent and often deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

DEA Fentanyl
Image of Seized Fentanyl pills by DEA

Since the beginning of this year, there have been 92 local deaths involving the drug, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“That’s how many of our neighbors in San Diego County have died from a fentanyl drug overdose so far in 2019,” DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers said. “That is 92 too many. The game has changed. Fentanyl is a killer, and our drug dealer or best friend are the murderers.” 

Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl for distribution throughout North America, according to the federal agency. Based on a sampling of tablets seized nationwide between January and March, authorities found that 27% contained potentially lethal doses of the substance, the DEA advised.

“Drug dealers put fentanyl in heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and in that little blue pill you think is an Oxy 30,” Flowers said. “Fentanyl doesn’t care how old you are, where you live, your gender or your race. … Are you willing to gamble with your life for one-in-four odds of dying?”

Counterfeit pills containing fentanyl and heroin laced with it cause thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States annually, according to the DEA.

Federal authorities urge anyone who needs drug-abuse help — or knows someone who does — to call 211 or contact Optum Public Sector San Diego online at https://optumsandiego.com/

Police: Man using stolen identity from Dark Web caught

Police said that man from Greensburg used stolen identity from Dark Web. Returning to the scene of a crime was not a good idea for a New York City man charged with trying to use a man’s stolen identity to buy computers.

Dark Web Identity

Vaughn L. Lawhorn, 46, of Brooklyn, was arrested at Best Buy in Hempfield Wednesday as he attempted to purchase two MacBook Pros, video games and gift cards worth thousands of dollars using the identity of a Penn Township man.

Police say he was trying to use the same forged documents that were rejected by store clerks Monday after questions were raised during authentication.

Police say a store manager telephoned Penn Township police Wednesday afternoon when Lawhorn reentered the store, attempting to use forged identification cards to buy merchandise a second time. The items he attempted to purchase were valued at more than $4,000, according to court documents.

The victim initially reported the attempted theft to Penn Township Officer Brad Buchsbaum, who reviewed store surveillance and spoke with a store manager after the initial failed purchases.

Buchsbaum said in court documents that, after receiving word that Lawhorn was back in the store Wednesday, he telephoned state troopers in Greensburg, who are less than two miles away from the Best Buy, to detain Lawhorn until he arrived.

“(The store manager) said Lawhorn was wearing the same clothes (Wednesday) as he was on the 28th when he initially used the victim’s identity,” Buchsbaum said.

According to court documents, state police say Lawhorn admitted using fake documents.

In addition to a fake credit card, Buchsbaum said Lawhorn also forged the Penn Township man’s driver’s license.

According to court documents, Lawhorn told investigators “he had purchased the victim’s identity from the dark web.”

Police reported that he has active arrest warrants in several states for similar thefts.

Lawhorn was arraigned before night court District Judge Jason Buczak on two counts each of access device fraud, identity theft, criminal attempt and unlawful use of credit cards. Buczak ordered Lawhorn held without bond in the county prison while authorities investigate whether he may have used the victim’s identity to make other local purchases.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Nov. 18.