Two Texan men have pled guilty at the Manhattan Supreme Court to selling illegal steroids and other drugs on the dark web, reportedly netting $2.8 million during their five-year-long operation.
Drug Dealers Plead Guilty
Callaway Crain and Mark Sanchez, both 35, ran an illegal operation from 2013 to 2018 during which the duo sold steroids and pharmaceuticals like Xanax, Valium, and Viagra on the dark web and their website NextDayGear, according to a report by the NY Post.
Their customers included an NFL football player, college football player, a professional volleyball player, a high school football coach, police officers, military personnel, doctors and lawyers, according to the District Attorney’s office. Names of the duo’s customers, however, were not disclosed.
According to a report by NY Daily News, Sanchez was operating a laboratory from his home where he mixed and bottled his compounds and imported substances from China. He also “traveled to Mexico, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi twice, to South Korea and Hong Kong and some of those trips were in furtherance of his business enterprise,” stated Assistant District Attorney Adam Maltz.
As is commonplace on the dark web, the majority of payments were conducted in bitcoin (BTC). The two defendants reportedly received payments in the cryptocurrency and laundered them through various Bitcoin wallets, before converting them into fiat currency and depositing the cash on their bank accounts.
“These defendants raked in crypto and cash worth millions on their full-service Web site that sold prescription-free counterfeit steroids and other controlled substances to customers in all 50 states,” said District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. in a statement.
In exchange for pleading guilty to the illegal sale of controlled substances and money laundering, Crain and Sanchez are looking at between two and a half and seven and a half years in prison, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The duo’s sentencing has been scheduled for July 12, 2019.
While it has been a thorn in the eye of most crypto enthusiasts since the days of Silk Road, the digital currency is still struggling to shake off its dark web association. In light of the fact that bitcoin remains the most popular payment method on illegal darknet marketplaces despite its publicly-viewable blockchain, it will continue to be difficult for proponents to disassociate bitcoin and the dark web.