The criminal behind the dark web moniker ‘Chemsusa,’ Louis Fernandez, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, after his involvement in a dark web illegal drug trafficking. The New York native was convicted of selling, fentanyl and carfentanil, a fentanyl analog 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
Louis Fernandez, was the part of a dark web drug selling ring, which distributed thousands of drugs to customers in the U.S, using dark web marketplaces such as Dream Market and now-defunct AlphaBay . Fernandez was one of two operators behind the dark web monikers’ Chemsusa,’ “Chems_Usa,” “Chemical_usa,” and “Jagger109. On Dream Market alone, Chemsusa was believed to have made over 3,200 transactions from November 2015 to March 2019, when they were arrested. His co-defendant, in a post on their vendor page, also bragged about how they had completed over 1,800 on AlphaBay.
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The culprit pleaded guilty in July to charges including one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, conspiracy to distribute carfentanyl, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and conspiracy to distribute fentanyl analogs through the dark web. In addition to his prison sentence, Fernandez was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote to forfeit $269, 623 of criminal proceeds from the illegal fentanyl and carfentanil trafficking.
During the four years that Chemsusa was operating, Fernandez was responsible for managing their stash house, packaging, and shipping packages full of illicit drugs as orders from their customers. Chemsusa used the U.S mail system to distribute all their orders across the United States. In March this year, envelopes carrying carfentanil was seized and searched, after Fernandez dropped them in a mailbox for shipping.
Speaking after the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Berman stated that. “Luis Fernandez and his co-defendant sold huge quantities of fentanyl and carfentanil to hundreds of Americans across the country, via the dark web.” He added that this sentence should serve as a mnemonic that any short-term profits from illicit drug trafficking are not worth the long-term price.
Richard Castro, a co-defendant of Fernandez and the other conspirator in Chemsusa, also pleaded guilty in July to participation in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, carfentanil, and fentanyl analog on the dark web. Castro was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote, to forfeit over $4, 156,198 of criminal proceeds in seven different bitcoin address from the dark web fentanyl distribution. Court documents showed that the 36-year-old Florida native admitted to one count of money laundering, which carried a-20-year in prison maximum sentence.
He also admitted to one count of possession and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances including, fentanyl, carfentanil, and phenyl fentanyl, which also had a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum life in a prison sentence.
Chemsusa saw its operation come to an end, after undercover agents, posed as buyers, and made five different purchases from Castro on the now-defunct dark web marketplace AlphaBay. Law enforcement officials, through the purchases, learned about an account owned by Chemsusa in a particular bitcoin exchange , after linking the email address associated with the account, to the dark web vendor. Additional investigation into the different accounts, owned by Chemsusa revealed Castro’s real identity. Almost all of his accounts ended in 104; a figure was a combination of his date of birth, 4/10.
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In June last year, Castro later informed all customers of Chemsusa, to forget the different accounts they used for transactions, as Chemsusa was moving its business from the dark web and was only going to accept purchase orders on Protonmail. Protonmail was later discovered by law enforcement to be a highly encrypted mail, which was out of reach to law enforcement in Europe and the United States. Chemsusa, however, demanded all customers pay a fee of $104, before making any order over the encrypted email.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers were able to nab Castro, without the protection of his Protonmail, by using a blockchain analysis software. This software traced a gold purchase that Castro did online from a gold broker, using his real name Richard Castro. Castro made payment for the purchase with Bitcoin, from the same exchange account the policed had earlier identified.
The police later questioned the online gold broker who revealed that Castro gave out his personal email address, which luckily for them, wasn’t a Protonmail account. A warrant was executed on the email account of Castro, which contained dozens of information, including emails and logins for the various exchanges Chemsusa had been using.
Source: The Crime Report
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