Darknet drug sales are on the rise with each passing day hitting the headlines every now and then. Recently, a couple from Merced, California, has been admitted selling Cocaine, Marijuana, and Methamphetamine through the dark web. The couple has been pleaded guilty to the violation of the Travel Act while using the email and internet to distribute the controlled substances, as stated by the United States Attorney’s Office. The accused couple has been identified as Jabari Monson (32 years) and Saudia Monson (39 years), who have been admitted as running at least three dark web Vendor accounts on the Dream Market and as well as various other dark web markets from July 2018 till January 2019. The accounts that were targetted as a part of the investigation bore the pseudonyms “BestBuyMeds”, “House of Dank” and “Trap Mart”.
The charges against the accused had stemmed from an investigation that was led by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy task force, which is a task force bearing their own hidden service where they had announced the arrest of the “TrapMart”, “Best Buy Meds,” and “House of Dank.” As per the Postal Inspector with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) named Jason Bauwens, the inspection of the accused couple began in early 2018 soon after the employees at the Merced Post Office has reported suspicious activity to the USPIS. The employees of the Post Office informed that an Afro-American couple regularly came into the MPO and mailed an unusually huge number of domestic and as well as international parcels. Staff at the Post Office had shared that the parcels also bore handwritten labels and cash-only transactions were carried out.
The Law Enforcement has even come to know that the couple had dropped off 14 packages at the Mercer Post Office. After knowing what exactly the couple had been shipping to the customers both nationally and as well as internationally, with immediate effect, the law enforcement searched Dream Market for a Vendor with products matching the products law enforcement had intercepted. The investigators had identified the Dream Vendor BestBuyMeds. Law enforcement has identified the PGP key along with the user ID “[email protected]” as the key associated with BesyBuyMeds. The investigators have also connected the BestBuyMeds account to the Dream Vendor account HouseofDank and then HouseofDank2.0 through the same PGP key associated with the account. In this case, all three accounts used the same PGP key as concluded.
On the 23rd of August, 2018, law enforcement placed an order from Vendor HouseofDank2.0 on Dream Market for an eighth of Methamphetamine and an eighth of Marijuana. The undercover officers gave the Vendor an address under their control. The investigators learned where the package had entered the mail stream and what time the suspect had dropped the package off at the Post Office. They then pulled the security footage that identified an unidentified female who had also dropped off ten other packages when she had dropped off the one ordered by law enforcement. The surveillance footage also gave the investigators a view of the suspect’s vehicle–gold BMW X5 SUV. Surveillance conducted at a later date linked the vehicle to a license plate number and that the license plate number belonged to Saudia Monson. Records showed that Saudia Monson lived at a home in Merced with her husband, Jabari Monson.
Law enforcement has conducted a number of undercover purchases from the Monson’s Vendor accounts. On the 28th of November, 2018, law enforcement noticed that the Monson’s had stopped selling drugs through both the Best Buy Meds and House of Dank accounts. The law enforcement has found a new account on Dream Market with similar listings and similar photos (and possibly identical photos for some listings). They have noticed HouseOfDank2.0 had no listings but had been actively signing in to the account on a regular basis.
Image Source: www.darknetlive.com
On the 6th of December, 2018, law enforcement sent a private message to the Houseofdank2.0 Vendor account, inquiring about the potential restocking of the marijuana edibles. Houseofdank2.0 responded to the undercover message stating – “yes I will have edibles on my new page `Trapmart’.” and this was a new trap by the law enforcement in order to get them. Law enforcement placed an undercover purchase for the drug Methamphetamine from the Vendor Trapmart. They had pulled surveillance from the Post Office where the package had entered the mail stream and has identified Jabari Monson. He had dropped off a number of packages alongside the one containing the methamphetamine ordered by law enforcement.
The rest of the investigation and the case got unfolded as expected. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 19th in front of U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez. Jabari Monson faces a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison, a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, and a $5 million fine while Saudia Monson faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 of penalty.
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