On July 18, Geoffrey S. Berman (US public prosecutor in the southern district of New York) issued a press release in which he announced the arrest of Hugh Brian Haney (suspected of drug trafficking in the darknet).
According to the information provided, agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
obtained a judicial permission to search a suspect's house in Ohio
. Numerous evidence has been found confirming that Haney, 60,
was one of the sellers hiding under the codename of Pharmville.
The cybercriminal was accused of laundering money from illicit drug trafficking on the now-defunct Silk Road
Today's arrest should be a warning for drug dealers in darknet. They can not remain anonymous forever, especially when they try to transfer their illegal income.
- says the public prosecutor.
Dark side of the network
Silk Road was closed in 2013. According to HSI agent, cybercriminals sought new ways to continue their activities and to launder funds obtained from illegal trade. To take over Pharmville's BTC, HSI hired blockchain
In 2017 and 2018, HANEY transferred funds obtained from illegal trade to a cryptocurrency exchange, claiming that BTC
that it owns come largely from its own mining and from people from the network. According to the information disclosed, these coins were obtained from the Silk Road transfer. After HANEY decided to convert its BTC
into cash equivalent to 19 million dollars
, HSI took over the money in accordance with the attachment order issued by the court.
It is worth noting that the officers of the DEA
made numerous purchases from Pharmville as part of the investigation in 2011 and 2012. Agents found evidence that it was Haney who was a member, or even the administrator hiding behind this codename. A 60-year-old man is threatened with 20 year long imprisonment for money laundering and about 10 years for the transfer of illegally obtained funds. The verdict was determined by Congress and given only for information purposes. The judge will decide about the penalty.