The 40-year-old David Ryan Burchard from Merced, a dark web vendor California has been sentenced to six years in prison for selling illegal drugs on several dark web marketplaces including Silk Road, AlphaBay, Agora, and Abraxas.
Burchard who went by the online handle of “Caliconnect” on the dark web was arrested in March 2016, and initially was pleaded not guilty but in August 2017, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana on dark web marketplaces.
As revealed in August 2017 press release, Burchard sold cocaine and marijuana in Bitcoin and mailed those orders to users all over the United States through post offices in Fresno and Merced County in which he conducted sales in excess of $1.4 million on Silk Road.
According to FBI, Burchard was the 18th largest vendor on Silk Road which means he was the third-largest US-based dark web vendor dealing with illegal drugs. In 2013, FBI raided and shut down Silk Road while in 2015, its owner Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison.
Upon investigating the data acquired from Silk Road, the FBI noted that Burchard password on Silk Road was “asshole209.” But, following the death of Silk Road, Burchard moved to AlphaBay where he started selling illegal drugs under the handle of “caliconnect4life.”
AlphaBay along with Hansa dark web marketplaces were shut down and seized by the FBI and Dutch authorities, however, it is unclear what data did the FBI accessed on Burchard from AlphaBay. Burchard has been sentenced to six years and eight months by Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill.
In another case, a 33-year-old Bulgarian citizen Emil Vladimirov Babadjov was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison. Babadjov was residing in the United States and using dark web for selling heroin, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.
Babadjov used AlphaBay marketplace for his operation in which he used two online handles including “BTH-Overdose” and “Blime-Sub.” He was arrested after an undercover operation conducted by law enforcement in San Francisco.
Babadjov is currently in federal custody, and Burchard was ordered to surrender to federal custody on April 12, 2018. The Department of Justice press’s release regarding both cases is available here.
The initial concept of dark web marketplaces was to use cryptocurrencies to buy products anonymously however now they are home to every kind of illegal content including stolen databases, drugs, weapons, child pornography and fake documents.