Dark Web Empire Crumbles After Link to a Stamps.com Account
In one 2019’s most interesting cases of “cybercrime gone wrong,” two criminals collected loot worth $9 million only to buy postage on Stamps.com and boom! Everything they’d spent a lot of time to steal came crumbling down.
These alleged illicit drug sellers made a whopping nine million selling counterfeit Adderall, a prescription for ADHD patients, through a dark web. The crackdown caught fire over six months ago when secret federal agents managed to buy the pills on Dream Market— an online dark web platform known for stolen identity and Narcotics.
Tzu Yang “Issac” Lin, a US citizen of Chinese origin, sourced the drugs from a Taiwanese, Meng Ting “Leo” Hu, and mailed them in packages to shoppers through the USPS. The pills were found to be fakes, with only traces of methamphetamine, and buyers made their purchases through Bitcoin.
The two suspects reside in California and must have launched these operations almost two years ago. Lin is accused of initiating “more than 28,000 sales,” making up nearly $8.8 million earned on the dark website.
The operation remained secret for a long time because the criminals used different tactics to stay anonymous. First, customers need special software to enter the dark web, and two; they insisted on Bitcoin because the currency is not traceable.
The illicit sales were skyrocketing until Hu made a blunder that revealed their identities and led to the arrests. Federal agents had made three purchases, and a scrutiny of all showed that they were pre-printed postage bought from Endicia, one of Stamps.com’s subsidiaries.
Further investigations on the Stamps.com account used by the duo to deliver parcels carrying pills led investigators to narrow down to Hu as the real owner.
The Agents tailed Hu from the moment his name and address were no longer a secret. On multiple occasions, they watched him loading boxes to Lin’s vehicle in his garage. Later they followed Lin to a USPS post office in City of Industry, Calif., where they saw him drop “87 Priority Mail envelopes into a mailbox.”
The agents went to court for a search warrant to scrutinize the parcels.
The 87 envelopes carried roughly 1.5 kilograms of tablets. The pills were oval, peach, and included a print ‘b 974′ on one surface and’ 30′ on another.” These tablets were similar to the ones bought by secret agents and lab-tested for methamphetamine.
Both searches in the residences of these criminals revealed pills, dyes, and pressing machines, among other things they used in their operations. Lin was corporative, accepted to be work with Hu. But his partner attempted flight when agents went to his house for a search.
Hu remains in detention after a court order declared him a flight risk while Lin is out on bond. The latter’s attorney refused to disclose any details about his client.
Dream Market is only one of the many drug rings selling illicit items through the dark web. The business is lucrative, but only until federal agents crack the code to your case.
Hopefully, the law will corner more and more of such dealers selling illicit drugs to rip off Americans.
Author Bio: Electronic payments expert Blair Thomas is the co-founder of high risk payment processing company eMerchantBroker. He’s just as passionate about assisting businesses set up high risk credit card processing as he is with traveling and spending time with his dog Cooper.