Operator of the Silk Road “Variety Jones” Pleads Guilty

Operator of Silk Road and Ross Ulbricht Adviser Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court – Roger Thomas Clark Was a Key Figure in the Development of Silk Road, Advised Ross Ulbricht on All Aspects of the Criminal Enterprise, and Urged and Facilitated an Attempted Murder-for-Hire.

Operator of the Silk Road
Silk Road marketplace

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROGER THOMAS CLARK, a/k/a “Plural of Mongoose,” a/k/a “Variety Jones,” a/k/a “VJ,” a/k/a “cimon,” pled guilty today to conspiring to distribute massive quantities of narcotics, a charge arising out of his role as the senior adviser to the owner and operator of the “Silk Road” online illicit black market.  During its operation from 2011 until 2013, Silk Road was used by thousands of drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services to more than 100,000 buyers, and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars derived from those unlawful transactions.  CLARK pled guilty before United States District Judge William H. Pauley III.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Silk Road was a secret online marketplace for illegal drugs, hacking services, and a whole host of other criminal activity.  As he admitted today, Roger Thomas Clark was a central figure in helping to lead Silk Road and in advocating violence to protect the site.  Clark even went so far as to urge, and facilitate, the attempted killing of a co-conspirator suspected of stealing from Silk Road.  Clark’s arrest, extradition from Thailand, and conviction should make it clear that the purported anonymity of the dark web is not a protective shield from prosecution.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment, court filings, statements made in court, and evidence presented during the 2015 trial of Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road’s founder:

Ulbricht created Silk Road in approximately January 2011, and owned and operated the underground website until it was shut down by law enforcement authorities in October 2013.  Silk Road emerged as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet at the time, serving as a sprawling black market bazaar where unlawful goods and services, including illegal drugs of virtually all varieties, were bought and sold regularly by the site’s users.  While in operation, Silk Road was used by thousands of drug dealers and other unlawful vendors to distribute hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other unlawful goods and services to well over 100,000 buyers, and to launder hundreds of millions of dollars deriving from these unlawful transactions.        

Silk Road enabled its users to buy and sell drugs and other illegal goods and services anonymously and outside the reach of law enforcement.  Silk Road was operated on what is known as “The Onion Router,” or “Tor” network, a special network of computers on the Internet, distributed around the world, designed to conceal the true IP addresses of the computers on the network and thereby the identities of the networks’ users.  Silk Road also included a Bitcoin-based payment system that served to facilitate the illegal commerce conducted on the site, including by concealing the identities and locations of the users transmitting and receiving funds through the site.

CLARK – who went by the online nicknames “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” “Cimon,” “Plural of Mongoose,” and “CaptainSargeant” – was described by Ulbricht as a “real mentor” who advised Ulbricht about, among other things, security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road site, technical infrastructure, the rules that governed Silk Road users and vendors, and the promotion of sales on Silk Road, including the sales of narcotics.  CLARK also provided advice to Ulbricht on developing a “cover story” to make it appear as though Ulbricht had sold Silk Road.  CLARK also assisted with hiring programmers to help improve the infrastructure of, and maintain, Silk Road.  CLARK also was responsible for gathering information on law enforcement’s efforts to investigate Silk Road.  And CLARK advised Ulbricht on how to protect the Silk Road empire.  For instance, when a Silk Road staff member was suspected of stealing $350,000 in Bitcoin from the site, CLARK suggested to Ulbricht that Ulbricht commission a murder-for-hire.  Ulbricht took that suggestion.  (Ultimately, unbeknownst to both men, the attempted murder-for-hire did not result in any harm to the target.)

CLARK was paid at least hundreds of thousands of dollars for his assistance in operating Silk Road.

CLARK, 56, a citizen of Canada, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  CLARK is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Pauley on May 29, 2020, at 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding joint efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Chicago-O’Hare, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s New York Field Office, and the New York City Police Department.  Mr. Berman also thanked the HSI Attaché Bangkok, Thailand, for its assistance and support.  Mr. Berman also thanked the Royal Thai Police and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs for their support and assistance.

Operator of the Silk Road website Variety Jones Pleads Guilty DOJ press release can be found here

Dread is still down, Empire Market unstable – What to do?

Dread is still down and Empire Market is very unstable – what to do next? Here are some tips for darknet users after Apollon Market exit-scam.

Dread is still down
Dread Darknet Reddit-like Forum

Dread, a Reddit-like dark web discussion forum is down for 4 days. Last update from HugBunter the creator of Dread was 28 January on DreadAlert Reedit sub dedicated to Dread announcements. Empire Market, currently the largest darknet market is very unstable in the last 4 days after the exit-scam of second largest deep web market, Apollon. Because of this, many deep web users are left in the dark with no information. To prevent (as far as we possibly can) any further scams and phishing attempts we are going to write some tips on what to do when things like this happen.

Currently the only stable Empire Market link is the main one – empiremktxgjovhm.onion. As of now it automatically redirects users to any working link. dark.fail is the second source for any legit and PGP verified Empire Market links. Please be sure to always manual PGP verify links although dark.fail is more than trusted. darkfail.org or any other website that has darkfail in it is a PHISHING website that you should avoid at all cost. Do not use any Empire Market links posted on Reddit sub-groups since most of them are also phishing links. If one of the mentioned links (either the main one or from dark.fail) don’t work at the moment, just wait and try to refresh the page in the next 15-20 minutes.

Dread main link is – dreadditevelidot.onion. All updates will be posted on Reddit DreadAlert sub so be sure to periodically check it.

Please be sure to check our Markets and Shops section where you can find many more trusted darknet markets and shop while you wait for Empire to come back.

AlphaBay Vendor CHANG1927 Pleads Guilty

AlphaBay Vendor “CHANG1927” Pleads Guilty to selling drugs on the dark web – A former Richmond man pleaded guilty today to distribution of drugs similar to fentanyl.

AlphaBay Vendor CHANG1927
AlphaBay Website after seizure

According to court documents, Mark Faulkner, 36, was identified as part of a multi-agency federal investigation into illegal drug sales on “dark web” market places. Marketplaces on the dark web, like AlphaBay, Dream, and Hansa, function as a place where a wide variety of illegal goods and services, including narcotics, firearms, child pornography, stolen credit card numbers, and counterfeit identity documents, can be bought and sold with greater anonymity than on the traditional Internet. 

In 2017, investigators with HSI and USPIS conducted online undercover operations targeting the importation and distribution of drugs on these dark web marketplaces. In addition to making covert online purchases of drugs, investigators also operated a cash-for-Bitcoin exchange business, through which they received Bitcoin from drug vendors in return for bulk cash that investigators shipped back to the drug vendors as part of the investigative process.

Faulkner used the vendor name CHANG1927 to advertise Adderall and fentanyl products on multiple dark markets. Investigators identified Faulkner through Bitcoin exchange transactions and three purchases of drugs that were advertised as fentanyl. Forensic testing later determined that the substance was actually cyclopropyl fentanyl, an analogue of fentanyl. Controlled substance analogues have chemical structures that are substantially similar, and have similar effects on the central nervous system as the controlled substances.

Faulkner pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance analogue and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on April 29. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian R. Hood is prosecuting the case.

AlphaBay Vendor CHANG1927 Pleads Guilty Press Release by DOJ can be found here

Dream Market Vendor “UKChemSale” Sentenced

Dream Market Vendor “UKChemSale” sentenced to 9 years – A Northampton man who ran a dark web business selling the lethal opioids to customers across the UK and worldwide has been jailed for nine years.

Dream Market Vendor
Bieska in Booking Photo by NCA

Justas Bieksa, from Tresham Green, Duston, created an online marketplace where he sold the lethal painkillers by the gram and where customers paid for their orders in untraceable Bitcoin.

His website, “UKChemSale”, sold painkillers like crystals of fentanyl and ethyl-hexedrone while offering his illicit customers next day delivery.

The UKchemSale site sold fentanyl to at least 52 customers, with reviews including: “NDD [Next Day Delivery], excellent packaging, 5th successful order, this batch of fent HCL is as good as last thank-you, I’ve been taking fent for about a year and the quality is up there will the best and these days hard to come by, this is now the only decent fent HCL vendor in UK”.

At his sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday (January 28), evidence showed how Bieska calmly shipping packages of the lethal painkillers at his local post office.

Fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine – but Bieska’s other products, like carfentanyl and furanyl, can be around 10,000 times stronger. He also sold ethyl-hexedrone crystals, a Class B drug commonly known as Hexen.

NCA Senior Investigating Officer Jim Cook said: “Fentanyl and its analogues, which Bieksa was selling, are extremely dangerous. Even a tiny amount could kill a user.

UKChemSale
CCTV image of Bieska mailing packages to customers

“Not only is fentanyl potentially lethal for those taking it, these drugs pose a serious danger to all those that come into contact with them – be that first responders like law enforcement and medical staff, or in this case postal staff.

“While fentanyl and analogues remain a threat due to their potency, law enforcement action has had a significant impact on UK-based suppliers like Bieksa.”

NCA officers started their investigation into Bieksa after he joined a dark web forum in July 2017. Bieksa was arrested at his home on the morning of September 14, 2019. Officers seized two laptops, one of which was encrypted, plus drug testing kits, electronic scales, envelopes and packaging.

He later pleaded guilty to supplying and importing class A and B drugs.

UKChemSale Dream Market Vendor shop

Forensic analysis of Bieksa’s laptop found a history of orders for synthetic drugs from China for onward supply to others.

Jim Cook added: “Bieksa knew these drugs were life-threatening yet he continued to import and sell them, using any means he could, for his own financial gain.

“The jail time handed to him today is a reflection on his dangerous and calculated actions.

“The NCA continues to work with law enforcement partners, using all the tools at our collective disposal to tackle this worldwide threat.”

AlphaBay Moderator Pleads Guilty to racketeering conspiracy

AlphaBay Moderator Pleads Guilty to RICO conspiracy – A moderator for AlphaBay — a defunct darknet site that authorities said was once the world’s largest online marketplace for illegal drugs — has pleaded guilty in California to racketeering conspiracy.

AlphaBay Moderator

Bryan Connor Herrell, 25, of Colorado, entered the plea Monday to a charge of conspiring to engage in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott announced in a statement. He could face up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in May in Fresno federal court.

Prosecutors said that Herrell was a moderator who settled more than 20,000 disputes between sellers and buyers on AlphaBay, a gigantic global marketplace for “guns, drugs, stolen identity information, credit card numbers and other illegal items,” the stateent said.

“At the time, AlphaBay was considered to be the world’s largest online drug marketplace,” the statement said.

Herrell also was a “scam watcher” who monitored attempts to defraud AlphaBay users, authorities said.

He was paid in bitcoins, authorities said.

AlphaBay had hundreds of thousands of users before law enforcement authorities shut it down in 2017.

The man prosecutors described as its founder, Canadian citizen Alexandre Cazes, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Fresno and arrested in Bangkok. But the case was dismissed after he was found hanged in his cell while awaiting extradition to the U.S.

Apollon Market is EXIT-SCAMMING – STAY AWAY

Apollon Market, the second largest darknet marketplace (after Empire) is currently EXIT-SCAMMING. The allegations of exit-scam first appeared on DreadAlert group on Reddit, dedicated to Dread, darknet reddit-like discussion forum.

Apollon Market
Apollon Market is currently exit-scamming

User bryanmccraig04 is one of the first who posted on Dread Alert sub-reddit about Apollon Market exit-scamming. He said:

” apollon is exiting, withdraw problems seen on dread earlier today “

And it followed with new users and vendors started complaining:

” I think Apollon is exiting. Can’t log in, it says username/password incorrect. Another vendor messaged me earlier saying don’t try to withdraw, coins getting frozen. Oh well.”

We confirmed the allegations of Reddit users and it has been confirmed by several other sources as well. One of the signs could also be that Sator, one of the moderators on the Apollon Market is not a moderator anymore, but just a normal member.

Sator, one of the Moderators and Support Staff Member of the Apollon Market now a simple Member

Apollon Market

Apollon Market was the second largest darknet marketplace just after Empire, established 2018. It offered mainly drugs and chemicals to it’s users while having section dedicated to Fraud.

Dread under heavy-DDoS attacks

While Apollon is in the midst of an exit-scam, Empire Market the largest darknet marketplace is down for 2 days with some links popping up here and there that lasts barely 10 minutes. Also, Dread, as previously mentioned, darknet reddit-like discussion forum is under huge DDoS attacks along with other forums like, Envoy, The Hub and Darknet Avengers.

HugBunter, creator of Dread forum posted on Dread Alert sub-reddit about this incident saying:

” We’re back up and running, but under a heavy attack again, what is the difference in this attack? It is targetting all mainstream forum platforms. At the time of writing Dread, The Hub, Avengers and Envoy are all down. Targetted attacks like this can be used to conceal information from being shared such as a market exiting, a market being busted etc. Whatever the reasoning, something is going down. Be extremely vigilant with all markets. We will try to restore service later today once we have set up several new servers to handle the load. Mirrors will be issued via dark.fail in the event we cannot overcome the attack again. “

Where to go next?

Our advice is to join Empire Market, currently the largest and by far most safest and reliable Darknet Market. Since Empire Market is not working currently due to constant DDoS attacks, another choice could be dutchanonstore one of the oldest vendors/market.

Be sure to also check our Market and Shops sections for more darknet marketplaces.

How to Access .onion Sites? (Tor Websites)

How to Access .onion Sites? (Tor Websites) – Websites on the Tor Browser aren’t like ordinary websites you are seeing everyday on the clear net. There websites end in .onion domain name and point to the dark or deep web.

How to Access .onion Sites?
How to Access .onion Sites? (Tor Websites)

WARNING: Most of the web sites on the Tor Network are scams and contain a lot of illegal materials. Browse safely and use our guides and links.

What is a .onion Site?

According to Wikipedia .onion is a special-use top level domain suffix designating an anonymous onion service (also know as Hidden Service) reachable via the Tor Network. Such addresses are not actual DNS names, and the .onion TLD is not in the Internet DNS root, but with the appropriate proxy software installed internet programs such as web browsers can access sites with .onion addresses by sending the request through the Tor Network.

Tor Network is partially funded by US Government and is primarily designed to help people from being censored or monitored while on the internet. When you connect to the Tor your IP address is going through nodes in the Tor Network thus anonymizing your internet activity as shown in the picture below.

How to Access .onion Sites?

In order to access .onion websites you will need a software called Tor Browser. Download Tor Browser from the Official Tor Project website.

Install and double click on the desktop icon to launch it. Once there, you can type .onion address in the search bar.

For this example you can use our top Tor websites that can’t be found on Google which can be found here

NOTE: Make sure you have your Java Script disabled while browsing through Tor for double security. Always be safe and use other advanced techniques of anonymity like PGP and VPN.

How to Buy Drugs Online from Darknet Markets?

How to Buy Drugs Online from Darknet and Deep Web Markets will be detailed tutorial on how you can buy any drugs online you can imagine. This tutorial will be using Empire Market as an example but please keep in mind that all markets are similar anyway, so this will work for any market you are on.

How to Buy Drugs Online
How to Buy Drugs Online from Darknet Markets

Tor Browser

In order to start your journey you will need Tor Browser to even access the Darknet Markets because these websites are not like the traditional ones you see on the clearnet. Tor, or the Onion Router Network is a software that enables you to browse the internet anonymously. Websites that are hosted on the Tor Network instead of usual .com or .net domains have .onion domain.

Download and install Tor Browser at: https://www.torproject.org/download/

Note: Please have in mind that before you start using Tor to browser the internet you should have A VPN software installed. VPN or Virtual Private Network is a software that encrypts your internet traffic so your ISP and the Government will not know that you are using the Tor software.

Darknet Markets

Once you downloaded and installed the Tor Browser you will need to find a darknet market where you can buy your goods. You can find the list of some of the most popular darknet markets below:

Darknet Markets Links List

After you found your favorite market copy the link and paste it into the Tor Browser. You will land on the register page of the website. Example of the register page of Empire Market is in the picture below:

Empire Market register page

Just fill out the details requested like the username, password (confirm the password) PIN and the captcha to confirm that you are not the robot. Once done, click on Join Empire Market.

NOTE: PIN is used to make a payment or withdrawal funds. STORE it somewhere SAFE!

How to Buy Drugs Online – Products

Once you’re on the market you will need to find what are you interested in Buying? Are you looking for cocaine, LSD, Weed, XTC, MDMA, Crystal Meth, Heroin? Whatever are you looking for – it’s there. Navigate through the websites category and sub-categories and use filters to narrow down your search.

NOTE: Always order domestically if you can to avoid packages being seized by Law Enforcement. Choose your vendor carefully, use your brain, read reviews before buying anything.

Once you found your vendor and the product you wish you buy, you will need to deposit the funds into the market. Most Markets use Bitcoin, Litecoin and Monero as a payment option. Since most of you use Bitcoin, please read our detailed guide on How to Buy Bitcoins Anonymously before proceeding.

After you acquired bitcoins and deposited funds into the market, you will need to use PGP to encrypt your shipping address sent to the seller of your product. More about PGP, what is it and how to use it can be found here

With PGP keys all settled up you are ready to order. Click on the product you want and you will land on a page that looks like this (picture below):

NOTE: Double check and read the vendor’s profile on the market to agree to their Terms.

Encrypting your name and address

In order to submit your order you will of course need to send your address to the seller. Follow the PGP tutorial posted above to encrypt your address. Double check the terms of your vendor and the format of the address they ask for. Normally, the format of the address should look like this:

John Doe

140 Some Street

New York NY 10163-4668, US

Copy the Vendor’s Public PGP Key, import it into the your PGP software by following our PGP tutorial posted above and encrypt your message. Now, copy that message and enter it into the form box into the Markets product confirmation (picture above).

Click on Confirm Purchase.

Once that is done your order will be pending before your vendor accepts your order. There are more statuses of ordering, like Pending, Shipped, Finalized and so on.

The last part is that you wait for your package and if everything is good, then kindly release the funds to your vendor. If you however didn’t received your product, just click on open a dispute. The dispute will be then opened between you, vendor and the moderator.

NOTE: Please have in mind that before you choose to open a dispute you should contact your vendor first and ask where you package is. That in most cases should be enough to fix the problem you may having.

How to Buy Drugs Online – Conclusion

You’re done. You are now ready to buy anything you like on the darknet. Please keep in mind to always read reviews before you buy, practice your OPSEC as better as you can, stay safe and use your brain. And last, don’t trust anyone.

What is PGP and how to use it? Tutorial

What is PGP and how to use it? PGP or Pretty Good Privacy is one of the most popular methods for encryption today used by banks, financial institutions, journalists and healthcare organizations worldwide. It’s used to send messages confidentially. People are using it on the dark web too and this tutorial is aimed at that.

What is PGP
PGP Encryption and Decryption Process Explained

Example of PGP used on the dark web

Buyer wants to buy something from the darknet market, he puts his address in Raw File (picture above explained). You copy Public PGP Key from your favorite Vendor and paste it into your software (explained below). With the Raw File you have you just click Encrypt and copy the created output generated by software. You can then send this encrypted message over the forum boards, markets, private chats and more.

Video Tutorial

Below you can find video tutorial or just click here:

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously (Without ID)

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously is a blue-print on how to buy bitcoins while maintaining your anonymity. Privacy is the right of every user in the digital world. As Bitcoins becomes something that people will probably use as the preferred payment, many people are looking to jump on the bandwagon.

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously
How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously (NO ID)

In the early days of Bitcoin purchasing BTC was easy. There were no Banking regulations known as KYC – Known Your Customer. Things have changed since then and Bitcoin is not so anonymous anymore.

NOTE: Every Bitcoin transaction is publicly available forever on Bitcoin Ledger. While a public address that is displayed on the Blockchain is not enough for someone to track you, providing your ID for the KYC regulations can uncover your identity as a bitcoin holder.

How to Buy Bitcoin Anonymously – NO ID

Below are some ways to purchase Bitcoins anonymously:

One of the easiest ways for purchasing BTC while keeping your anonymity is through Paxful. With Paxful you can buy bitcoins in cash and in person. By finding someone on Paxful who is selling bitcoins for cash near your area, you can eliminate any KYC providing.

Another way of purchasing Bitcoins is through ATM machines around your city. For more information please visit this website and choose your country.

NOTE: While buying BTC through ATM mostly does not require ID you’re limited to how much you can buy per day/month.

Another and last way to buy bitcoins anonymously is with Prepaid Credit Cards you can acquire at any super market or convenience store. With this card you can buy bitcoins on sites like Paxful and Local Bitcoins .

How to Buy Bitcoins without providing your ID

While this method provides a way for you to buy bitcoins without ID, some of those sites does not accept cash and in person buying but it offers methods like cash deposit.

BitQuick is a website where you can buy bitcoins with cash deposit without providing your ID verification. It works in a way that seller and buyer agree to amount the buyer wants, the seller then deposits Bitcoins into BitQuick Escrow, once the buyer deposit the cash into seller account, bitcoin are released.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that for this method you will need Phone Number Verification.

There are more websites you can use for this method like Hodl Hodl and Bisq.

Advanced Techniques – Use Tor

According to Tor Project, Tor is a free software that helps you browse freely while blocking trackers and defending you against internet surveillance. To use it simply download and install Tor Browser from their Official site at: https://www.torproject.org/download/

Don’t know on what to spend your acquired bitcoins? Please check our Markets section here