Updated July 18th, 2019
A dark web drug investigation has led to the arrest of a 21-year-old who was dealing in illicit drugs. Marcus Shapiro, a Marlboro native, was in contact with a dark web drug dealer turned CI about the transfer of dark web ordered drugs.
His dark web dealer, a Keene man who had agreed to assist federal agents after his arrest, gave information on Shapiro’s business which led to his arrest and subsequent drug charges. According to court documents, the Keene man, identified as CI-1, told Homeland Security agents that he had been in communication with Shapiro through Snapchat and that Shapiro had been looking to purchase some drugs from him. He added that they even arranged for the transfer of an amount of MDMA.
Additional court documents revealed that Shapiro and the confidential informant had arranged for the sale of ecstasy and MDMA on Snapchat, which was to be delivered on April 4. Homeland Security agents stated that a day before the April 4 arrangement, Shapiro sent the confidential informant another message on Snapchat, this time requesting to purchase almost 300 30mg Percocet pills.
The duo agreed to a transfer of 250 ecstasy pills, 60 Percocet pills together with an ounce of MDMA for $3,500 at the Shell Station on Route 9 in West Chesterfield. Shapiro’s arrest came after the transfer by officers of the Keene police department, and he was cited with possession of a controlled substance.
Shapiro was scheduled to appear in Cheshire Superior Court on Thursday.
Shapiro’s arrest was just another casualty in an extensive investigation by Homeland Security after they received a tip that the Keene man, now CI, was receiving packages of controlled substances through the mail. The information also suggested that how the packages were arriving indicated that the controlled substances were being ordered from the dark web.
Reports state that many packages that were inspected by customs officials and were found to contain MDMA were addressed to the residence of the Keene man now confidential informant. Search warrants executed on April 27 on two houses of the informant yielded positive results as agents confiscated electronic devices which, according to them, contained evidence of the use of the dark web and cryptocurrency.
The Keene man was then taken into custody and afterwards agreed to assist law enforcement in the further investigation of drug distribution activity. Court documents revealed that the Keene man had a previous conviction for disseminating private sexual images. He then “agreed to cooperate in mitigation of his criminal liability in connection with this investigation.”
Shapiro’s arrest isn’t the first time this year that a dark web drug investigation has led to an arrest of a different perpetrator. Back in March this year, an international operation led by law enforcement from the United States, Canada and Europe to scan the dark web for traders who were buying and selling illicit goods led to the arrest of 61 people. The sting also led to the closure of over 50 accounts on numerous dark web marketplaces involved in many illegal activities.
The police seized almost 300 kilos of illicit drugs, 51 firearms, and over $7 million in criminal proceeds, with two-thirds in virtual currency. The operation covered about 17 countries in Europe alone including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Portugal.
Plans for the operation were put together in July 2018 when 60 experts from 19 countries looked for a way to curb the growing use of the dark web for counterfeit goods and money, drugs, cybercrime, document fraud, non-cash payment fraud, trafficking in human beings and smuggling of firearms and explosives. The police later identified over 200 high-value targets and developed intelligence packages which were sent to the concerned countries for further action to be taken.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, in a statement after the bust, stated that the Operation did not only show the strength of their partnerships with the U.S. government and agencies abroad but also showed how they could capitalize on those partnerships to destroy all kinds of criminal activities, including those hidden on the dark web.
This operation was the second of such after an earlier one, “Operation Disarray,” was organised last year which also led to the arrest of 8 dark web drug dealers who were trafficking controlled substances across the globe.