Alphabay Vendor Dailyfix Sentenced to 76 Months in Prison
From their home in Vila Real de Trás-os-Montes, the couple Pedro and Rita set up a perfect (or almost perfect) scheme to buy and sell drugs to the whole world. Pedro was a master of computer science and knew all the schemes and shortcuts of darkweb – network of encrypted internet servers used mainly by criminal organizations – and Rita, a web designer, was the creator of the attractive pages that promoted the sought after products.
For at least six months, according to what they were able to demonstrate to the authorities that investigated them, they attracted clients from all over the world: France, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, United States of America, Australia, Canada and United Arab Emirates are among the dozens of countries to which they sold hash, cannabis and synthetic drugs.
The sophistication of the scheme and the profits achieved in such a short time surprised even the Pj inspectors and the prosecutors of the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), responsible for the investigation. When they were arrested for international drug trafficking, they had more than 30,000 euros in their home and on darkweb’s accounts they had amassed a “small” fortune in bitcoins, the virtual currency of the digital era – 64.28984671 bitcoins, whose value at the current exchange rate reaches almost half a million euros.
According to what was found in the DCIAP investigation, “surely from the middle of the first quarter of 2017”, Rita and Pedro “began to dedicate themselves, almost exclusively, to the importation and sale of narcotic products through the use of the internet. , in particular the main darknet-based narcotics sales website / market called ALPHABAY Market “.
Pedro’s Acer computer “contained a variety of computer programs for data encryption, management of public and private keys for message encryption, password-creation software – as well as software for accessing darkweb applications and services, purchase and sale of virtual currencies, shipping control and receipt of postal parcels.
Not to be easily detected, the computer engineer “surrounded himself with caution” and when he accessed darkweb, he did not do so through his computer, but through virtual machines he created that functioned like real virtual computers – from a program. / commercial software called Virtual Box – completely autonomous from the physical machine.
While browsing this darkweb, Pedro had the nickname (alias) Dailyfix, recognized only on the Alphabay Market website, the largest black market for drug sales on the Internet. In this “shop,” the couple advertised “a vast amount of listings of the kind of drugs they had for sale and their prices”: hashish, cannabis, and various synthetic drugs. They also announced the blotters too.
While it is true that these products would also be bought through darknet, the authorities could not reach their suppliers, although they suspected they were Spanish and Drugs sent in envelopes by CTT
The reputation of DailyFix was at its highest level, authorities said when they infiltrated their cyber investigators on this dark internet. “The seller had a lot of positive comments about his sales, which made him very credible in that environment, that is, whenever a buyer bought a product from DailyFix it reached its destination,” it is reported in the case.
In the search of their house, PJ picked up dozens of these letters already prepared to be sent and also seized several envelopes already within the framework of the CTT. “They printed the name and the addressee of the order in question and, in place of the sender, the defendants put the names of addresses and premises of several companies, used as front, namely: Erqolit Lda., Beauty Nails, Smartlink, 3DB, G-Techno and Regiamat, not to be identified by their real mailing address”, is described in the case.
When they were arrested, Pedro and Rita had credit cards with them that allow them to withdraw bitcoins in cash at any ATM, as well as traditional cards from various banking institutions. From the computers, “it was possible to collect all the information from the DailyFix user of the Alphabay market, namely its presentation to buyers informing them that it was a team that sold from Portugal, the risk of buying drugs being minimal, as the authorities did not control this type of activity besides the fact that consumption was legal in the country”.
Once on the account of the defendants, the bitcoins paid by the buyers of the narcotic product were themselves mixed by the darknet website with the bitcoins of other suspects, before being transferred by the couple to their personal accounts. “In this way, and knowing that the bitcoins, although anonymous, are traceable, they hoped the defendants would never be detected,” the investigators point out.
The authorities have identified three schemes for this laundering:
1- The product was sold on darknet and paid in bitcoins. In those markets, the bitcoins were mixed to avoid detection, however the defendants still passed them through a bitcointumbler / blender “, once again to hide their origin. Later, they transferred the bitcoins to a physical account on the Acer computer and then to the defendants’ LocalBitcoins accounts, while LocalBitcoins, enjoying a high “reputation” from the successful businesses they were doing, sold bitcoins in a variety of ways, namely by receiving cash / euros by letter, bank transfers and cash in hand, thus obtaining the proceeds from trafficking properly “cleared” in cash.
2 – The main difference from the previous scheme is that the defendants use a website (Kraken) to convert bitcoins to cash without referring them directly to their bank accounts in Portugal. Instead, they transferred the euros from bitcoin sales to an account on the Leupay website, which was associated with a debit card that allowed them to spend their money anywhere, ie at any ATM they could withdraw euros or make payments. All of these sites are located abroad, with Leupay located in Malta, and since January 2016 and until his arrest in June 2017, the defendants charged their accounts with 50,246.10 euros.
3 – In this scheme used by the defendants, after passing the bitcoins through the tumblers of their own markets for selling narcotic products on darknet and the tumblers outside them but still on darknet, they deposited those in the physical account of the Acer computer. Later, they transferred the bitcoins from the physical account of the Acer computer to an account on the Xapo site, which was associated with a debit card that allowed the amount of bitcoins present in the Xapo account to be spent directly, that is, by withdrawing or paying payments. expenses. By opting for this scheme, the defendants did not need to sell the bitcoins to third parties first, and could convert them directly to cash by simply using the debit card. Admittedly, the location of the Xapo financial entity is in Hong Kong, which allowed the defendants to avoid the alerts that could be generated by moving the amounts of bitcoins they intended to convert to currency.
Investigators’ search of his Finance data showed that Pedro did not submit any income to the tax administration from 2012 to 2017 and had a criminal advantage in the total amount of € 94 672.22 and 61.985681 bitcoins. Rita reported income between 2012 and 2015 in the IRS, being found as incongruous values and advantage of criminal activity a total of 51,406.87 euros.
They heard the sentence last week. Pedro, who took full responsibility for the scheme and freed Rita from a penalty, was sentenced, for aggravated trafficking and money laundering, to six years and four months in prison. The court ruled that all the money seized, including that deposited in bitcoins in various “accounts” on darkweb, will go to the state. In addition to the high value at stake – the largest so far known in Portugal – it also represents a powerful blow and a serious warning to the criminal structures that use darkweb for their business.