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Seasoned Dark Web Vendor ‘H00k3d’ Pleads Guilty to Selling Opioid Pills and Counterfeit U.S. Currency

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A Utica, New York man pleaded guilty yesterday to charges relating to his sale of over $1.2 million in opioid pills and counterfeit U.S. currency on multiple dark web criminal marketplaces.

According to court documents, from around October 2016 through February 2021, Albie Pagan, 65, operated under the moniker H00k3d on various dark web markets, including AlphaBay, Apollon, Avaris, Cryptonia, Dark Market, Darkode, Dream, Nightmare, and Wall Street. Pagan, as H00k3d, advertised prescription opioids and medications for sale, including oxycodone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and Adderall, as well as counterfeit $10 and $20 bills. Pagan mailed these online-purchased narcotics and counterfeit currency to individuals across the country.

“The defendant illegally distributed over $1.2 million of highly addictive opioids and counterfeit currency while attempting to operate anonymously on dark web marketplaces,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Those who seek to profit by using the dark web to fuel a devastating opioid crisis that has ravaged our communities will be found and brought to justice.”

On Wall Street alone, Pagan sold over $325,000 in counterfeit U.S. currency, and his gross proceeds for the sale of narcotics and counterfeit currency was at least $1,011,079. On AlphaBay, Pagan’s gross proceeds for narcotics sales was at least $90,399. A review of H00k3d’s sales on Dark Market revealed 475 voluntary customer-rated orders reflecting purchases for several illicit items, including 3,293 hydrocodone, 2,250 oxycodone, and 382 hydromorphone pills. On Dark Market, Pagan’s gross proceeds for narcotics and counterfeit currency exceeded $131,948 based on reviewed transactions.

Pagan pleaded guilty to distribution of controlled substances and selling counterfeit currency. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 24 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Matthew S. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bibeane Metsch is prosecuting the case.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Hi-Tech Opioid Task Force, which is composed of FBI agents and task force partners, including special agents and officers of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, DEA, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and detectives from local assisting police agencies. The task force is charged with identifying and investigating the most egregious Dark Web marketplaces, and the vendors operating on the marketplaces who are engaged in the illegal acquisition and distribution of controlled substances, to include fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other opioids.

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Written by Kofi Anash

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