Female Dark Web Drug Dealer Sentenced to 96 Months in Prison, Defendant Accepted Cryptocurrency as Payment for Illegal Narcotics

Last week, Joanna De Alba was sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn by U.S. District Judge Dora L. Irizarry to 96 months in prison for "distributing with intent to distribute illegal drugs on a dark network," according to the official DEA website. "De Alba distributed a range of illegal drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone and methadone, on the dark web in exchange for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. de Alba pleaded guilty in April 2021.

The sentencing was announced by Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division.

"Today's prison sentence for De Alba demonstrates that her covert use of the dark web to distribute potentially deadly drugs such as fentanyl, heroin and oxycodone in exchange for cryptocurrency was a failure." U.S. Attorney Peace said, "This investigation and tough prosecution show that we will not let the dark web become a haven for drug traffickers."

"This verdict shows that drug traffickers are not untouchable in the dark web trade." DEA Special Agent Ray Donovan said. "De Alba's attempts to push fentanyl, heroin and other dangerous drugs into the homes of many of our communities through anonymous concealment have become a parent's worst nightmare. I commend the New York Chapter of the DEA Cyber Investigative Unit and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York for their commendable work throughout this investigation."

The Internet contains online marketplaces for narcotics and other contraband on the "dark web," a part of the Internet that lies beyond the reach of traditional Internet browsers and can only be accessed through networks designed to hide the identity of the user. The "Wall Street Marketplace" is a global dark web marketplace that requires its users to trade in digital currency, primarily bitcoin.

Between June 2018 and May 2019, De Alba advertised and sold illegal narcotics on the Wall Street Marketplace. These narcotics included opioids - including fentanyl (hidden as oxycodone pills) and heroin - as well as other potent illicit drugs, including oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and other substances containing ecstasy.De Alba took various steps to operate anonymously and conceal her identity, including using the Internet alias "RaptureReloaded," using a false company name and shipping address, using her late husband's name to receive packages from vendors, and using credit cards in her late husband's name to finance the tracking of her shipments. De Alba also instructed customers to contact her via encrypted email and messaging services and pay her in cryptocurrency. de Alba offered free shipping to addresses within the United States and free tracking on all orders.

De Alba was involved in more than 600 transactions on the Wall Street market, where she sold more than: 840 grams of heroin, 190 grams of methamphetamine, 1,250 ecstasy pills and 280 oxycodone tablets. de Alba also sold more than 750 fake oxycodone pills - pills that actually contained fentanyl, but were De Alba received payments in the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin and Monroe, and received approximately 16.32 BTC and 400 XMR, currently valued at more than $1 million.

The government's case is being handled by the Office's International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Saritha Komatireddy and Francisco J. Navarro are in charge of the prosecution.

From:On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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