This situation is also one example of hundreds where the dark net is the basis for the entire operation. Gaining access to stolen credit card information via oversea hackers, the group then programmed the credit data onto gift cards.
Taking it a step even further, the group also utilized Walmart to transfer the gift card balance to official Walmart gift cards. By doing this, they were able to take the cards and buy cigarettes at various Sam’s Club stores.
Moving their operation to the internet, the group utilized the dark net’s black market by selling the cigarettes to various vendors.
The seven arrested include:
- 34-year-old Tendai Munyaradzi Makoni, 12 years (Durham)
- 32-year-old Momar Talla Ndir, 3 years and 6 months (Raleigh)
- 22-year-old Dabed Del Jesus Sanchez, 3 years and 6 months (Raleigh)
- 43-year-old Joseph Daren Holcomb, 2 years and 10 months (Charlotte)
- 23-year-old Aaron Kent Davis, 7 years (Raleigh)
- 28-year-old Mark Tony Evans, 2 years and 6 months (New York)
The group plead guilty to several crimes. This included conspiracy to commit money laundering and aggravated identity theft. Hundreds of items purchased with the black market money were also stripped from the guilty party. Included in the confiscated items were cell phones, credit and debit cards, gift cards, video game consoles, and computers.
Although this group of black market conspirators is now brought to justice, there are still thousands of illegal (and successful) businesses running on the dark net. Even after the closing of the Silk Road, it wasn’t long before alternatives popped up. The war on drugs is going to be a long one as long as the internet is involved.
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