March 29, 2016 – A 38-year-old Merced man has just been apprehended on charges of selling cocaine and cannabis on darknet marketplaces, including the Silk Road, the United States Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
When investigators searched Reddit and other public sites for “caliconnect,” he discovered remarks and testimonials from people who had actually ordered marijuana from the dark-web supplier utilizing that very same username.
Homeland Security Investigations explained “caliconnect” as a marijuana vendor, with sales of over $1.4 million on the now-defunct Silk Road. They also estimate that Caliconnect was the 18th largest vendor on the Darknet Markets.
“Darknet markets are operated on computer networks created to hide the real Web Protocol addresses of the computer systems utilizing the network” authorities stated.
Such marketplaces permit payments to be made just in the form of digital currency, most frequently in Bitcoin.
“While not inherently illegal, digital currency is used by dark-web marketplaces because online transactions in digital currency can be completed without a third-party payment processor and are therefore perceived to be more anonymous and less vulnerable to law enforcement scrutiny,” Wagner said.
Burchard is implicated of accepting orders for cannabis and drug on dark-web marketplaces and sending by mail the narcotics from post offices in Merced and Fresno County to his customers throughout the United States. He was paid mostly in Bitcoin, the Justice Department stayed.
Federal authorities say Burchard’s operation was worth more than $1.4 million prior to the website was shut down, explaining him as “one of the largest vendors on the Silk Road.”.
Authorities say Burchard transferred his narcotics company to Agora then to AlphaBay, which are other dark-web marketplaces, when the Silk Road website was turned off.
The examination was carried out by U.S. Migration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Irs’s Lawbreaker Examination office, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Fresno Authorities Department, with assistance from attorney Anitha Ibrahim of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crimes and Copyright Section.