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The infamous AlphaBay vendor “Fentmaster” will spend the next 180 months in prison for selling synthetic opioids through the dark web.

 

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Chukwuemeka Okparaeke was sentenced to 180 months in prison after pleading guilty to an assortment of drug charges. Okparaeke, in a plea agreement, admitted selling U-47700, acryl fentanyl, 4-ANPP, and other opioids through the now-defunct AlphaBay Market. Okparaeke operated a vendor account with the username “Fentmaster.” In addition to the drug charges, Okparaeke admitted making false statements to the Government regarding the proceeds of his offenses.

0000000fentmasterThe investigation into Fentmaster involved many of the same procedures used in other darkweb investigations, including controlled purchases and physical surveillance. Articles on DeepDotWeb documented the entire story but those articles are long gone. Some elements of his case stood out as fairly unique.

One good example: Okparaeke stood out to employees of the Postal Service by wearing latex gloves while dropping packages off at the Post Office.

0000000fentmaster1The part the media picked up on involved an account on Reddit that federal investigators linked to Okparaeke. According to the criminal complaint, the feds only identified the account as one belonging to Okparaeke after seizing Okparaeke’s cellphone and searching through his messages, browser history, and more. Okparaeke, under the username “bmoreproduct1,” posted a detailed (fictional) story on the DarknetMarkets subreddit about a fictional darkweb vendor named Jerome Bannister. The story was so similar to Okparaeke’s life that he all but wrote a detailed confession of his crimes. The subreddit was banned in one of Reddit’s early subreddit purges. I found a copy on Archive.is and will include a copy below.

 

In his guilty plea, Okparaeke admitted selling U-47700 to an 18-year-old who fatally overdosed on the drug (he did not admit knowing his anonymous customer was an 18-year-old who would later overdose). He admitted that his drug trafficking operation involved over nine kilograms of acryl fentanyl, nearly six kilograms of U-47700, over one kilogram of furanyl fentanyl, and well as 12 grams of 4-ANPP. Fentmaster on AlphaBay had conducted more than 7,000 sales and generated 680.60963624 Bitcoin in profit.

0000000fentmaster2Okparaeke took a bold step during a meeting with representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Southern District of New York. The meeting concerned Okparaeke’s Bitcoin earnings. As readers who follow such cases know, the U.S. government will take your earnings in a drug trafficking case. Okparaeke told the USAO representatives that the Bitcoins were “no longer in his possession and control and that a third party had stolen the Bitcoins from him through hacking and other unauthorized access to [his] electronic accounts.” This was, of course, patently false and Okparaeke later forfeited the Bitcoin to the United States Postal Inspection Service. The false statements charge stemmed from this incident.

In addition to the prison term, Okparaeke, 32, of Middletown, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $105,177.30 in United States currency and 680.60963624 Bitcoins.

The Okparaeke complaint is worth reading.

Complaint (pdf) (html)