US drug traffickers admit to using cryptocurrency to sell drugs on the dark web

Gilberto Melgarejo is accused of using bitcoin payments to sell various types of illegal narcotics on the dark web.
A drug dealer from the U.S. state of New Mexico pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn to using cryptocurrency to peddle large quantities of drugs on the dark web, according to prosecutors.

Gilberto Melgarejo, 27, sold methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, ecstasy and ecstasy on the dark web marketplace under the name "THEQUEENSHIVE", the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said.

Melgarejo's accomplice, Brooke Gray, 23, pleaded guilty last month to the same charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs on the dark web, the FBI said.

Prosecutors said the pair was arrested two years ago in New Mexico after authorities discovered they were using the seedy dark web marketplaces Wall Street Market and Empire Market to market their illegal goods under the name "THEQUEENSHIVE".

In nearly 100 transactions, officials said, they sent drugs from gas station mailboxes in the Albuquerque area to customers who sent them bitcoin payments through encrypted services.

"This investigation proves that when it comes to law enforcement's efforts to save lives, there's no place to hide on the dark web." DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said in a statement.

EDNY acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis added that her office will continue to "aggressively prosecute the drug traffickers who contribute to the opioid epidemic and harm our communities".

According to prosecutors, the two dark web drug dealers from Albuquerque are facing life in federal prison.

Ross Ulbricht, the man behind the infamous dark web site Silk Road, is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2015 for running an underground drug market.

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