U.S. Illegal Drug Supplier Indicted for Distributing Heroin and Cocaine via Dark Web in Exchange for Bitcoin

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently released a three-count indictment charging Edison Hernandez, also known as "dragoncove," "theoriginaldragoncove," "theoriginaldragoncove" and "Nino," with originaldragoncove," "theoriginaldragoncove," and "Nino," of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and delivery and distribution of heroin and cocaine via the Internet. The first two counts relate to Hernandez's alleged activities on the dark web beginning in January 2013.

The third count of the indictment charges Hernandez, Michael Caruso and Raymer Ynoa with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) through a door-to-door drug delivery service, respectively. A separate criminal indictment was unsealed today charging Irvin Hernandez with being a member of the same door-to-door drug delivery conspiracy.

The charges were announced by Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Ricky J. Patel, Acting Special Agent in Charge, New York Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Daniel B. Brubaker, Inspector in Charge, New York Division, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

"Edison Hernandez allegedly made every effort to conceal his identity so that he could send thousands of packages containing dangerous drugs across the United States and make home deliveries in New York City with his co-conspirators," said U.S. Attorney Peace, "hiding behind the dark web, behind crypto services or Bitcoin will not stop this office from rooting out those who are flooding our communities with illegal and dangerous drugs."

Mr. Peace expressed his appreciation for the significant contributions provided by the New York City Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the IRS-Division of Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Nassau Sheriff's Department, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey State Police.

"Hernandez is accused of using sophisticated technology such as the dark web, cryptocurrencies and encrypted messaging apps to hide his actions. Today's law enforcement action shows high-tech criminals that no matter how well you think you're hiding, you can't get away with it," said Patel, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York. "HSI and our partners will continue to work tirelessly to keep deadly drugs out of our communities from wherever they are sold - on street corners or the virtual corners of the dark web."

Brubaker, Inspector-in-Charge of the USPIS New York Division, said, "Defendants thought the dark web marketplace would hide their illegal activities, but postal inspectors and our law enforcement partners brought their crimes to light. We are committed to fighting the illegal sale of dangerous drugs and will work with our partner agencies to expose anyone who tries to hide behind the veil of the dark web. We will use all of the resources available to us to investigate and prosecute anyone who uses the mail for illegal purposes. Today, defendants learned the hard way that once their crimes leave the dark web and enter the real world, postal inspectors and our law enforcement partners are there waiting to take them down."

Background on the Dark Web Marketplace

The Internet contains online marketplaces for drugs and other illegal items that exist on the Dark Web, a part of the Internet that lies beyond the reach of traditional Internet browsers and can only be accessed through the use of networks designed to hide the identity of the user. Silk Road, AlphaBay, Dream Market, and WallStreet Market are some of these marketplaces that have been taken down. All of these sites are large global dark web marketplaces that function similarly to traditional e-commerce sites, but for the purpose of trafficking contraband. Vendors advertised the sale of illegal narcotics and other contraband; buyers purchased illegal drugs and contraband; buyers paid for their purchases using digital currency; and sellers shipped their goods via U.S. Mail and other delivery methods. These dark web marketplaces require users to transact in digital currency, primarily bitcoin; the marketplaces do not allow transactions in official, government-backed legal tender.

Vendors and buyers on dark web marketplaces typically operate under anonymous names. However, vendors receive ratings from drug buyers based on factors such as the quality of contraband, reliability of delivery and volume of transactions. In addition, suppliers receive rankings from marketplace administrators based on user scores.

Edison Hernandez's Dark Web Vendor Business

Defendant Edison Hernandez was allegedly a highly rated illegal drug supplier on the dark web marketplaces of Silk Road, AlphaBay, Dream Market, and WallStreet Market. From January 2013 through April 2019, Hernandez advertised and sold heroin and cocaine to U.S. customers through these dark web marketplaces.

Hernandez promoted and sold heroin and cocaine to U.S. customers through these dark web marketplaces by accepting payments only in the form of Bitcoin and under the online monikers "dragoncove," "originaldragoncove," and " Hernandez shipped packages under a false name and instructed customers to contact him through an encrypted messaging service.

The defendant completed thousands of transactions on Silk Road, AlphaBay, Dream Market, and WallStreet Market, and police officers received high ratings and positive reviews from buyers.

The defendant operated a door-to-door drug delivery service

As alleged in the Indictment and Complaint, between February 2019 and January 2022, Defendants Edison Hernandez, Michael Caruso, Raymer Ynoa, and Irvin Hernandez each operated a door-to-door drug delivery service in the New York City area. The defendants advertised their services under the name "Nino & Viktor's Pastry Shoppe. The service offered customers a range of different drugs for sale, including cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, and ecstasy. After customers order drugs through an encrypted text messaging application, a delivery person will arrive later the same day and distribute the drugs.

From:On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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