A prolific seller of drugs on the Dark Web caught in a sting operation has been charged and ordered to forfeit over $4 million in cryptocurrency.
Last week, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that Richard Castro, also known as “Chemsusa,” “Chems_usa,” and “Jagger109,” among other aliases, used the Dark Web — only accessible via Tor — between 2015 and 2019 to sell controlled, restricted drugs.
Castro and his accomplice dealt drugs using the monikers “Chemsusa,” “Chems_usa,” and “Chemical_usa.”
On Dream Market, a dark web marketplace, Castro boasted that he had completed more than 3,200 transactions on other dark web markets, including more than 1,800 on AlphaBay.
Drugs were sold by Castro in exchange for Bitcoin and then laundered in several ways, including by funnelling millions of dollars through his Bitcoin wallets and purchasing a ludicrous amounts of Zimbabwean bank notes, as well as other valuables
“As he admitted today, for years, Richard Castro used the dark web to distribute prolific quantities of powerful opioids,” said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman.
“Castro thought he could hide behind the anonymity of the internet, and use online pseudonyms to deal drugs … Thanks to our law enforcement partners [he] is now in US prison,” he added.
In June 2018, according to the indictment details, Castro told customers he was moving his business off the dark web and would carry out his opioids trade via encrypted email. That proved to be his undoing.
Using the “Chems_usa” pseudonym, he asked customers to pay a fee for the email address. However, Castro was caught and arrested after an undercover law enforcement officer paid the fee, was provided the encrypted email address and subsequently placed orders for drugs with Castro.
On Dream Market, Castro is said to have boasted of completing over 3,200 transactions on the dark web.
According to the release, Fentanyl is “significantly stronger” than heroin, while carfentanil is around 100 times stronger than fentanyl. It is even considered a chemical weapon.
As part of the plea deal, Castro has agreed to hand over $4,156,198.18 in illicit earnings, including the contents of his seven different bitcoin wallets.