Authorities arrest alleged founder of online drug trafficking… | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

Authorities arrest alleged founder of online drug trafficking black market

The seal for the Justice Department Associated Press/Photo by Andrew Harnik, file

Authorities arrest alleged founder of online drug trafficking black market

The Justice Department on Monday was scheduled to bring 23-year-old Rui-Siang Lin before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer E. Willis for his arraignment on charges that he founded and operated the dark web marketplace Incognito Market. Authorities arrested Lin at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Saturday. The charges against him are merely allegations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the Justice Department.

What is this Incognito Market? The website, accessible through the Tor internet browser on the dark web, allows users to buy and sell drugs anywhere in the world where access to the internet is available. To use the website, buyers can log in with a unique password and username and buy drugs online from vendors—vendors who pay an initial admission fee and then 5 percent of their earnings on each sale to the marketplace.

The platform utilized features similar to those on legal e-commerce sites, according to the Justice Department. Users paid vendors through the website’s “bank.” Users deposited cryptocurrency into an “account” at the bank and purchased items by transferring the cryptocurrency funds needed for the transaction from their bank account on the site to the vendor’s account.

What sort of drugs could be found on this site? Vendors sold cocaine, ketamine, LSD, methamphetamines, MDMA, heroin, and prescription-only medications. However, vendors didn’t always label the products on the website accurately. One undercover law enforcement agent allegedly bought what was supposed to have been oxycodone, only to discover after testing that the pills shipped by Incognito Market contained fentanyl. Lin, who went by the online name “Pharoah,” established the website in October 2020, and before the site closed down in March, roughly $100 million in drug sales had taken place on the site, according to the Justice Department. He could face life in prison if convicted.

Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard’s discussion with cybersecurity expert Mark Montgomery on The World and Everything in It podcast about how medical data is worth more than credit card data on the dark web.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

An actual newsletter worth subscribing to instead of just a collection of links. —Adam

Sign up to receive The Sift email newsletter each weekday morning for the latest headlines from WORLD’s breaking news team.

Please wait while we load the latest comments...