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Shady market moderator AlphaBay gets 11 years in prison


During his tenure, he has settled over 20,000 disputes between AlphaBay sellers and buyers, while receiving payment from the marketplace owners in bitcoin.

Brian Connor Herrell, a 25-year-old Colorado resident, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for working as a moderator on the shady web market AlphaBay.

From May 2016 to July 2017, Hurrell acted as a trading floor moderator and guarantor, known by the aliases Penissmith and Botah, according to court documents.

During this time, he settled over 20,000 disputes between buyers and sellers of AlphaBay, while receiving payment from the owners of the marketplace in bitcoins.

Herrell was charged with racketeering, as evidenced by an indictment filed in December 2017 and unsealed in June 2019. On January 27, 2020, he pleaded guilty to the charges.

The court sentenced him to 11 years in prison, although after pleading guilty he faced the maximum sentence under the law – 20 years.

Shady market moderator AlphaBay gets 11 years in prison

AlphaBay before closing

AlphaBay creator dies in prison

The creator of AlpaBay, Canadian citizen Alexander Cases, was also arrested at his residence in Bangkok, Thailand in June 2017 by the Royal Thai Police with the help of the FBI and DEA.

His identity was discovered by the FBI after several OpSec (operational security) bugs, such as using a personal email address to deliver welcome messages to new members on the AlphaBay forum .

While running AlphaBay, Cases was able to earn over $23 million in cryptocurrencies, as well as real money in several bank accounts from Thailand, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and St. Vincent.

Thai authorities were also able to confiscate about $ 12.5 million worth of cars and real estate after Cazes was arrested.

At the time of his arrest, law enforcement found Cases’ laptop in an unencrypted state. Agents and officers found several text files that contained passwords/access keys for the AlphaBay website, AlphaBay servers, and other online identifiers associated with AlphaBay.

AlpaBay ‘s investigation is still ongoing until all of the former market administrators are found and sentenced, even though Cases’ indictment was dropped after he was found dead in his prison cell, according to a Justice Department press release. a week after the arrest, July 12, 2017.

Shady market moderator AlphaBay gets 11 years in prison

AlphaBay removal notice

AlphaBay: the largest darknet marketplace of its time

"At AlphaBay, suppliers and buyers were involved in hundreds of thousands of illegal transactions involving weapons, drugs, stolen identification information, credit card numbers and other illegal items," according to the Department of Justice.

Considered the largest online drug market, AlphaBay was said at the time to be 10 times the size of Silk Road, with over 200,000 users and approximately 40,000 vendors, AlphaBay.

“AlphaBay had over 250,000 listings of illegal drugs and toxic chemicals, as well as over 100,000 listings of stolen and forged identities and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms and fraudulent services.", – said in Europol.

Conservatively, the market has generated $ 1 billion in transactions since its inception in 2014. Transactions were made in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

The AlphaBay darknet marketplace was shut down following a joint law enforcement operation in July 2017 and coordinated raids in the United States, Canada, and Thailand on July 13, 2017, in an FBI/DEA-led operation known as Bayonet.

The marketplace’s servers were confiscated by law enforcement agencies in Canada and the Netherlands, and millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies were also seized.

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