Associate of former dark web marketplace convicted

Former AlphaBay contract dispute wrangler Bryan Connor Herrell has been jailed for 11 years over his part in running the notorious darknet marketplace.

The 26-year-old from Colorado – who pleaded guilty to racketeering offences in January – settled disputes between vendors and purchasers on the AlphaBay marketplace.

Herrell also served as a scam watcher, providing a service dedicated to monitoring attempts to defraud AlphaBay users. “Herrell went by the monikers ‘Penissmith’ and ‘Botah’ and was paid in bitcoin for his participation,” according to a US DoJ statement during sentencing.

AlphaBay was the world’s largest online drug marketplace before it was dismantled by law enforcement action in July 2017, as a part of Operation Bayonet.

AlphaBay’s alleged founder, Alexandre Cazes, was found dead in a Thai cell days after his arrest by local authorities. The Canadian national is suspected to have committed suicide.

Round up the unusual suspects

Herrell is not the first individual connected to AlphaBay to face imprisonment.

For example, Ronald L. Wheeler III – operating under the moniker ‘Trappy’ – of Streamwood, Illinois, was sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail back in August 2018.

Wheeler’s duties reportedly included moderating the AlphaBay subreddit, moderating the AlphaBay message board forums, handling sales disputes, promoting AlphaBay on the internet, and providing non-technical assistance to users.

In addition, a number of dealers are currently serving jail time following convictions for using AlphaBay to distribute drugs.

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