Joanna De Alba, a U.S. citizen, was indicted by DOJ for selling drugs on the dark web in exchange for bitcoin
A digital drug dealer pushing drugs and heroin on a black website was busted according to prosecutors said she was trading with online money to hide her internet operation.
Joanna De Alba in Tijuana, Mexico, is expected to be charged on Thursday before a U.S. magistrate judge at Brooklyn Federal Court.
Joanna De Alba was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine
De Alba was charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess for the purpose of distributing, heroin and methamphetamine after she was detained while trying to enter the United States on the Mexican border.
DOJ lawyer Richard P. Donoghue said De Alba distributed heroin and methamphetamine from hidden corners of the internet, believing it provided anonymity for her and her clients. A bright light has shone on her activities, and she will now be responsible for her alleged crimes.
Prosecutors said, from June 2018 to May 2019, De Alba was accused of advertising and selling illegal drugs on Wall Street, the global dark web market, using the nickname RaptureReloaded. She allegedly accepted bitcoin to distribute medicine to her customers while providing free shipping to the United States, and all communications are done via encrypted email and messaging channels.
De Alba, 39, offers customers free shipping to U.S. locations under online street stealth delivery options, including “Basic Stealth” “Better Stealth” and “Super Stealth 360”.
On January 3, 2019, a secret DEA agent purchased 30 grams of heroin for $ 1,810 and 10 grams of methamphetamine for $ 160 from the RaptureReloaded list and paid in Bitcoin on demand.
Eleven days later, the undercover agent received the package from RaptureReloaded via the U.S. postal service, which contained positive chemicals for both heroin and methamphetamine, 30 grams, and 10 grams, respectively.
The DEA also blocked five international packages from the Netherlands and Canada containing narcotics sent to her late husband De Alba in Southern California. DOJ alleges De Alba has hired her partner for identification and credit card to process transactions since his death in March 2018.
Anonymity is what drug traffickers rely on the dark web, but this case proves that it is a false security, said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan. Law enforcement is committed to tracking down drug traffickers ‘ distribution networks everywhere.
The defendant, who was arrested on October 24, 2019, at the U.S.-Mexico border while attempting to enter the United States, will be charged before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione. If found guilty, she faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 100 years in prison.
Cryptocurrencies make fighting cybercrime more difficult
In August, the United Nations published a report saying that criminals are increasingly using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to fund their illegal activities, thanks to the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies.
“Cryptocurrencies make it difficult for investigators to manage a number of major risks because previously it was easier to track these activities (via local bank transfers), but with the use of cryptocurrencies it is difficult to track and manage”, said Neil Walsh, head of the Cybercrime and Anti-Money-Laundering department of the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime.
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