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Dark Web Market Owner Arrested in NYC After FBI Crypto Trace

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Dark Web Market Owner Arrested in NYC After FBI Crypto Trace

A 23-year-old man in New York has been apprehended and charged in connection with a major dark web narcotics marketplace, believed to have generated $100 million. Authorities utilized crypto transfer tracking to uncover his true identity. The suspect, Rui-Siang Lin, also known by his online alias “Pharoah,” was detained at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 18. He subsequently appeared in a federal court on May 20, as confirmed by the Manhattan United States Attorney’s Office.

Over nearly four years, Lin allegedly ran “Incognito Market,” a significant platform for illicit drug sales. According to James Smith, the FBI Assistant Director in Charge, the market facilitated transactions worth $100 million and Lin allegedly took home millions in illicit profits. This marketplace functioned on the dark web, accessible through the Tor web browser, and offered drugs such as cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and prescription amphetamines like Adderall. Payments were mainly made using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero.

The structure of Incognito Market included a mandatory crypto service for transactions, creating 5% profit on every purchase and providing an escrow feature, as detailed by the Justice Department. The market reportedly shut down this March, corresponding with an exit scam that allegedly drained millions in Bitcoin and Monero from users. Lin now faces charges including entering a criminal enterprise, narcotics conspiracy, conspiring to sell misbranded medication, and money laundering. The most severe charge, criminal enterprise involvement, carries a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted.

Authorities have targeted Lin’s cryptocurrency held in accounts on Binance and Kraken for forfeiture. Evidence connecting Lin to the dark web operations came from the FBI tracing cryptocurrency transfers from the Incognito Market to a centralized crypto exchange account registered under Lin’s name. FBI task force officer Mark Rubens specified that Lin’s crypto wallet received funds from the market’s wallet, which were then transferred to an exchange account controlled by Lin.

Further investigation revealed specific transfers where Lin’s wallet moved Bitcoin derived from Incognito Market to a swapping service for Monero. This Monero was then deposited into a crypto exchange account purportedly owned by Lin. The crypto exchange institution provided the FBI with Lin’s Taiwanese driver’s license, which was used to open the account, along with an associated email address and phone number.

Details of the investigation also uncovered that the email and phone number were linked to a Namecheap account. This account utilized funds from Lin’s crypto wallet to purchase a domain promoting Incognito Market. Rubens noted that Lin’s deposits into his crypto exchange account grew with the market’s expansion, escalating from about $63,000 in 2021 to nearly $4.2 million in 2023.

A secondary, unnamed exchange account saw significant deposits between July and November of the previous year, amounting to $4.5 million. This evidence underscores the scope and profitability of the activities attributed to Lin. His capture and the dismantling of Incognito Market highlight the ongoing efforts by federal authorities and the FBI to tackle the complexities and anonymity of dark web operations.

The detailed tracking of cryptocurrency, combined with collaboration from crypto exchanges, proved pivotal in this case. These measures showcase the effective intersection of financial forensics and digital investigations in apprehending those involved in online illicit activities. The case of Rui-Siang Lin emphasizes the increasingly rigorous scrutiny and innovative approaches undertaken by law enforcement to disrupt these clandestine networks.

21 thoughts on “Dark Web Market Owner Arrested in NYC After FBI Crypto Trace

  1. I can’t believe this happened in our city. It’s frightening knowing that such large-scale illegal activities were going on under our noses. 🕵️‍♀️😱

  2. Fantastic read! Its commendable how authorities are keeping up with the technological advances used by criminals.

  3. Hats off to the authorities for catching Lin, but it’s disheartening to see these dark web markets still causing so much damage.

  4. Insightful read! It’s impressive how the FBI could piece together such an intricate financial puzzle.

  5. Incredible investigative work! Its good to see that such dark web markets are not beyond the reach of justice.

  6. Way to go, FBI! This case shines a light on the importance of cooperation between crypto exchanges and law enforcement.

  7. Awful to think that this guy made millions ruining countless lives. The consequences should be severe enough to deter others.

  8. A brilliant example of law enforcement effectively tackling dark web crimes. Well done to everyone involved!

  9. Unbelievable! Using modern technology to conduct age-old crimes. Disgusted by what money can drive people to do.

  10. Kudos to the FBI task force for their detailed and thorough investigation! 🌟🚔📈

  11. Amazing work by law enforcement! This shows how determined efforts can dismantle even the most sophisticated criminal enterprises.

  12. The authorities did an outstanding job here! This story is a great example of how no one is truly anonymous.

  13. This is a great example of digital forensics at work. Kudos to the FBI for their meticulous efforts!

  14. Bravo to the investigative team! Incredible how they tracked everything down to the smallest detail.

  15. Amazing job by the investigators! This case highlights the critical role of cryptocurrency tracking.

  16. Fascinating case and top-notch investigation! Hats off to the authorities for their relentless efforts.

  17. A modern-day detective story! Im amazed by the detailed process of tracking the crypto transactions.

  18. Fantastic job, authorities! This brings new meaning to the phrase ‘your past will catch up with you.’ 🕵️‍♂️🔗💥

  19. Such a fascinating case! The intersection of cryptocurrency and criminal investigations is truly mind-blowing.

  20. It’s fascinating to see how digital forensics play a role in modern law enforcement. Great job bringing Lin to justice! 🌐👨‍⚖️

  21. The dark web is a scary place. 😰 What a shame that people like Lin choose to exploit it for such harmful purposes.

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