This isn’t your typical mom and pop drug operation shilling pot here and there — Feds have busted up an online drug ring known as “The Farmer’s Market,” arresting eight suspects that allegedly sold LSD, ecstasy, marijuana and other drugs to around 3,000 customers in 34 countries.
Wired.com says the ring was made possible through a TOR anonymizing network that would mask the identity of incoming IP address traffic. Even that system couldn’t protect those involved in the online storefront, which processed about 5,256 online orders for more than $1 million in drugs.
All those involved were charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, and officials seized large amounts of hashish, LSD and ecstasy, as well as an indoor psychotropic mushroom grow, and three indoor marijuana grows in the raids.
It worked like other underground forums, with sellers screened by administrators, who would then advertise what they had to sell to the storefront’s registered customers. Delivery was apparently guaranteed to customers worldwide, and the operation charged a commission based on the value of what was being ordered.
They even had customer support — including tips on packaging and delivering drugs. How helpful! Payment was made via Western Union, PayPal, iGolder, Pecunix and cash.
The Farmer’s Market has been operating since 2006, says the indictment, starting out as “AdamFlowers.” It then moved from accepting orders via an encrypted email service to the TOR network in 2010. It’s unsure how the Feds were able to crack the operation’s shield, but there’s plenty of email evidence contained within the indictment from 2007 to 2009.
Herein lies the nugget of truth: Selling something illegal online will probably get you caught, eventually.