The Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE), a group of Federal law Enforcement officers that specialize in identifying and arresting darkweb vendors, have arrested a dark web vendor without putting it a lot of work.
The NCDIE task force, which consists of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS), and the United States Postal Investigation Service (USPIS).
The NCIDE Task Force has arrested 24 vendors and investigated 28. They are efficient at their Job and identify vendors easily. But their investigations are not always challenging. The investigation of dark web vendor “chlnsaint.” by the NCIDE proved to be so easy that a high school student could do it.
The vendor Chlnsaint sold heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and different types of opioids on the Empire Market. Chlnsaint opened his account on Empire marketplace in August 2019, he had a customer feedback rating of 98% and performed as much as 1,100 transactions. He was a very popular vendor.
On April 12, 2020, the NCIDE Task Force conducted an undercover purchase from Chlnsaint. They purchased five oxymorphone pills and provided an address in the Eastern District of California. The package arrived with a handwritten return address on the package: Stephanie Smith 301 SW 7th Ave Delray Beach, FL 33444.
The package was shipped from a USPS Self Service Kiosk (SSK). SSKs take pictures of people using it which aids law enforcement in identifying the person responsible for mailing a package. Images taken by SSKs can identify a vendor or a party working for the vendor.
The images SSKs take surveillance images when people drops off packages. The Task Force agents checked the SSK surveillance images taken at the time of delivery. They compared these images with driver’s license pictures from the Florida DMV and booking photos from Florida jails. They identified as 32 year old Chaloner Saintillus as the person who mailed the pills. He was also linked to prior charges.
Investigators searched phone companies for phone accounts that were associated with the suspect. T-Mobile provided an address, an account and another name: Shalam Ali. This name, they learned during their search of booking photos, was part of an alias Saintillus had used in the past. The full alias was Shalam Ali El Bey.
They were able to connect the new Username with his twitter account , and he was arrested.