Law enforcement in Los Angeles, California, are charging three German nationals with crimes related to running an illegal drug market online. According to authorities, the three accused ran a hidden marketplace where drugs, counterfeit goods, and malicious computer software was sold. The federal complaint was made public after a two-year investigation into the activities of the defendants.
The hidden market operated by the defendants was named Wall Street Market. It allegedly earned more than $11 million for the operators. A fourth defendant accused of being a part of the operations was charged by federal authorities in Sacramento. Another defendant in Brazil is also accused of facilitating the operations of the illegal online market. Law enforcement officials say that they continue to increase their technical abilities and cooperation with foreign governments to hunt down suspects.
Authorities claim that Wall Street Market was the second largest hidden online marketplace at the time. The market allegedly enabled the trade of cocaine, heroin, and cannabis as well as stolen data and malicious software. It was available exclusively through the Tor network in what is commonly referred to as the Dark Web. Users of the online market paid for illicit good using cryptocurrencies. Items bought at Wall Street were sent to addresses throughout the world.
People accused of committing drug crimes by federal or state law enforcement have the right to seek counsel from an attorney. A defendant's lawyer will evaluate the charges against their client and recommend a legal strategy that represents their best interests. This may involve a plea agreement with prosecution, or it may involve a trial in front of a judge and jury.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Three Accused of Operating a Hidden Marketplace for Drugs, Counterfeit Items", Staff report, May 3, 2019