The U.S. Department of Justice, in an official statement, revealed that the moderator of the now-defunct darknet marketplace the Alphabay, Bryan Connor Herrell, has been sentenced to 11 years in jail in prison by United States District Court Judge Dale A. Drozd.
The platform was one of the world’s largest online marketplaces for drugs, guns, credit card data, and other illegal items paid for with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Rabbitt stated,
“This sentence of an AlphaBay employee demonstrates the collective efforts of law enforcement authorities in the United States and Europe to find and prosecute transnational criminal actors wherever they hide. The department will continue to work tirelessly to hold accountable criminals who use the Dark Web to facilitate illegal activity no matter where they may be located.”
The court document detailed that the 26-year old Colorado resident, Harell, allegedly operated under usernames “Penissmith” and “Botah” and settled disputes between vendors and purchasers.
Additionally, he also provided a service dedicated to “monitoring attempts to defraud AlphaBay users”, and was paid in Bitcoin for his participation.
AlphaBay operated on an onion service of the Tor network and had over 400,000 users towards the end of its operation. Throughout the past couple of years, law enforcement efforts have untangled and disbanded several large criminal operations. For AlphaBay, it was the multinational law enforcement ‘Operation Bayonet’ that resulted in its demise as well as that of another platform called ‘Hansa’ in July 2017.
Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen and alleged Founder of the online darknet market was found dead in his cell in Thailand several days after his arrest warrant was executed by the Royal Thai Police, with assistance from the FBI and DEA.
As a result of his death, the indictment against Cazes was dismissed, however, investigation of the darknet marketplace and its former administrators continues.