Colby John Kopp, a 23-year-old man living in Connecticut, imagined that he could get away with selling fake oxycodone pills on the dark web.
It all started in August 2020. FBI agents investigating the work of dark marketplaces came across a seller under the nickname “MadHatterPharma” who was conducting his “pharmaceutical activities” on the Empire Marketplace. Having started his work on May 4, 2020, the “entrepreneur” already had 554 successful orders on his account. The only and at the same time quite popular product of this seller was oxycodone pills (as the seller stated, they were made by pressing a mixture of morphine and fentanyl). In order to find the person behind it all, the FBI agent placed an order with MadHatterPharma (10 pills worth $100). After placing the order, the seller provided a bitcoin address to pay for the “goods”. The order was not long in coming, and less than a week later, a package with the USPS Priority Mail logo arrived at the address provided by the agents to receive the order, in which the agents found exactly what they had ordered through the “dark web”. After the successful order, the agents went to the bitcoin address provided by the seller. After analyzing the blockchain, the FBI went to the Coinbace exchange, and from there to a 23-year-old guy named Colby John Kopp.
Then an unexpected situation occurred. At the end of August 2020, Empire Market ceased to exist. This did not hurt the drug dealer’s business; after the old store was closed, he announced on Dread (an analogue of Redit only in the dark web) that he would be making deals on Wickr, and his future customers would be able to find him under the nickname “hatmatter”. The FBI agents did not sit idle, so they placed another order, but this time several times more (100 pills worth $910).
You’re probably wondering how Kopp laundered the money. It’s very simple, he worked with an accomplice (her name is Adriana Beatrice Sutton) who helped him cash out BTC. The scheme went something like this: Kopp sold all the BTC he earned through the exchange and transferred the proceeds to his PayPal account, spent some of the money from his account, and sent some of the money to Adriana’s account, and she, in turn, withdrew cash within a few hours of the transfer (using Coin Cloud ATMs). Continuing the investigation, FBI agents learned that over the past year, the “pharmacist” had purchased various equipment and substances for the manual manufacture of pills several times.
After he was detained on January 11 this year, he managed to share all the details of his “small business”. He is due to be sentenced on April 18, and according to preliminary estimates, he will face 5 years in prison.