Source: AdobeStock / sergign
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) goes to great lengths to track down criminals who use cryptocurrencies to sell drugs on the darknet and uses an undercover agent to break into the peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace LocalCryptos.com to work.
The platform presents itself as a P2P Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) marketplace with more than 100,000 users in 130 countries around the world who use their services to buy and sell crypto. It traded under the name LocalEthereum until 2019 before being renamed to add more cryptocurrencies to its portfolio.
Assuming the identity of Mr. Coins, the undercover agent has built a great reputation on the site, collecting 100% positive reviews on its profile while collecting crypto worth up to $ 200,000 in around 50 transactions.
One of the IRS agent’s greatest achievements was bringing down a suspected dark web drug trafficker by tricking him into sending more than $ 180,000 in cash in exchange for crypto, according to a search warrant received from Forbes.
In June 2020, Mr. Coins published an online ad offering to buy bitcoins for cash by mail above market prices and encouraging potential sellers to contact him via encrypted apps like Wickr or WhatsApp. Soon a person named Lucifallen21 contacted the undercover agent to inquire about the offer. The IRS has identified the prospective seller as a resident of Evansville, Indiana and has proceeded to negotiate the deal.
By July 2020, Lucifallen21 agreed to buy 1.59 BTC from Mr. Coins, wrap about $ 15,040 in cash in clothes, and send it to the undercover agent in a box according to the legal documents available. The man’s news suggested he was involved in dark web drug sales and alleged that he was trading in cocaine, marijuana, and “pills and opioids.”
The man had bought more cryptocurrencies from Mr. Coins before the secret agent finally agreed to sell the drug dealer $ 79,000 worth of cryptocurrency for $ 54,000 in cash. When the package reached the IRS agent, forensic experts took Lucifallen21’s fingerprints and linked them to the Evansville resident based on the existing records.
Lucifallen21 has been arrested and charged by the IRS in the Eastern District of New York. The alleged drug dealer has not yet made a plea.
– Australian Police Do Record Crypto Seizure Using Dark Web Drug Bust
– DOJ “overlooked” USD 500,000 in Forked Crypto in Bitcoin Bust
– South Korea Develops Solution Chasing Dark Web Crypto Deals
Largest Darknet Market Reported to Leave $ 30M in Cryptocurrencies – Report
– Darknet is turning to bitcoin mixers as exchanges tighten
– A light side of the dark web