AlphaBay spokesperson Ronald L Wheeler, aka Trappy, was arraigned in a US federal court for conspiring to commit access device fraud.
“This defendant was the mouthpiece for AlphaBay on the internet, encouraging others to access the Dark Web and purchase illegal drugs and contraband,” US Attorney Byung J Pak said in a statement. “Like other defendants, Wheeler eventually learned that the Dark Web is not impenetrable; your actions will catch up to you, just like they did in this case.”
David J LeValley, US Special Agent in Charge in the FBI Atlanta Field Office, noted that Wheeler and other cyber-criminals like him “present an omnipresent and increasingly critical threat to our community's safety.” As a spokesperson for criminals on the dark web marketplace, Wheeler “served to further the agendas of those who chose to defy our laws and victimise our communities,” LeValley said. “He operated with an attitude of impunity, until now.”
James E Dorsey, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, pledged that the agency would continue to work with law enforcement “and the United States Attorney's Office to shine light into the Dark Web and dismantle these corrupt criminal enterprises one at a time.”
Working with the support of Europol, the FBI, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Dutch National Police in July brought down AlphaBay and Hansa darkweb sites.
The globally coordinated, sophisticated operation, in the works for months, severely hobbled the underpinnings of a criminal economy that has seen 350,000 illicit commodities traded.
A Europol coordinated effort in September saw 53 criminals involved in buying and/or selling counterfeit Euro banknotes on illegal Darknet marketplaces, such as AlphaBay and Hansa Market arrested in a joint operation by seven EU Member States (Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Slovakia and Spain).