Dark web marketplace moderator Bryan Connor Herrell
pleaded guilty in the United States to conspiring to engage in a racketeer-influenced
While the infamous Silk Road made a lot more headlines, another
dark web market place had many more members and a wider reach. It was called
AlphaBay, and it was shut down in July 2017.
Criminals use such marketplaces to buy and sell illegal
products, such as drugs, counterfeit goods, computer hacking tools, firearms,
fraudulent services, and stolen and fraudulent identification documents and
access devices. In just three years of operations, from 2014 to 2017, criminals
transacted an estimated $1 billion.
While the founder of AlphaBay, Alexandre Cazes, is dead, Herrell was in a position of power within the organization. As a moderator, Herrell was responsible for settling disputes between users, and the Department of Justice documents says that it was involved in over 20,000 such disputes.
“On AlphaBay, vendors and purchasers engaged in hundreds
of thousands of illicit transactions for guns, drugs, stolen identity
information, credit card numbers and other illegal items,” reads the DOJ announcement. “At the
time, AlphaBay was considered to be the world’s largest online drug marketplace.”
Herrell now faces up to 20 years in prison, but the sentence
will be determined by the court. Also, just last week, Aleksei Burkov, 29,
pleaded guilty in the United States to money laundering, device fraud and other
crimes, after he admitted running a marketplace for stolen credit card data