US DOJ Seizes $100M in Crypto

US DOJ Seizes $100M in Crypto


By Jakub Lazurek

22 May 2024 (27 days ago)

2 min read


The US DOJ arrests Rui-Siang Lin and seizes $100M in cryptocurrency from his dark web drug market, Incognito Market, in a major crackdown.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently arrested Rui-Siang Lin, a 23-year-old from Taiwan, in a major crackdown on illegal cryptocurrency transactions. Lin, also known as Pharoah or Faro, is accused of operating the dark web drug marketplace Incognito Market. The platform is believed to have enabled anonymous crypto transactions for illegal drugs, totaling more than $100 million worldwide.

According to the indictment, Incognito Market launched in October 2020 as an online drug marketplace on the dark web. Before it was shut down in March, the site facilitated over $100 million worth of drug sales. Users worldwide could access the market via the Tor web browser. Lin, using the names Pharoah or Faro, oversaw all aspects of the operation, including managing employees, vendors, and customers.

US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York emphasized that Lin exploited the community for personal gain, stressing that criminal actors would be pursued whether they operate on street corners or the “dark corners of the internet.”

The DOJ stated that Incognito Market was designed to facilitate drug transactions globally, using features typical of legitimate e-commerce sites, such as branding, advertising, and customer service. Users accessed the marketplace with unique usernames and passwords, allowing them to search thousands of drug listings.

Interestingly, the site had a bank feature that let users deposit cryptocurrency into digital accounts. After transactions, the crypto was moved from buyer to seller, with Incognito Market taking a 5% fee.

Lin was arrested on May 18 at John F. Kennedy Airport and will appear before US Magistrate Judge Willis in Manhattan federal court. If convicted, Lin faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for narcotics conspiracy, 20 years for money laundering, and 20 years for conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

This case is part of a larger effort by US authorities to combat illegal activities on the dark web, which often use cryptocurrencies for anonymous transactions. The DOJ’s actions highlight the challenges in regulating and policing the dark web and crypto transactions.

In conclusion, the arrest of Rui-Siang Lin and the seizure of $100 million in crypto assets are significant victories for law enforcement against dark web drug trafficking. This case shows the innovative methods of criminal enterprises and the sophisticated strategies used by authorities to fight them. The outcome will have important implications for the future of cybercrime and cryptocurrency regulation.

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