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Busted! U.S. Authorities Arrest Anonymous Owner of  “Incognito Market”

The long arms of the law have caught up with the alleged owner of Incognito Market for operating an illegal drug platform, according to a press release by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Incognito Market is an online dark web narcotics marketplace where users buy and sell illegal narcotics globally while hiding from the authorities.

U.S. authorities apprehended the alleged owner, Ruisiang Lin (also known as Pharaoh), a 23-year-old Taiwanese man, at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 18. Judge Willis will bring charges against him in Manhattan federal court.

Liu formed Incognito Market in October 2020, and users can access it using the Tor web browser on the darknet. He used the online pseudonym “Pharoah” or “faro” to operate the website and sold over  $100 million of narcotics, including fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, and ketamine.

Liu is allegedly reported to be in charge of all the business operations, “including its employees, vendors, and customers, and had ultimate decision-making authority over every aspect of the multimillion-dollar operation,” said the DOJ report.

Incognito Market MO

Liu posed Incognito Market as a site for legitimate drugs, requiring users to log in with a unique username and password to gain access to thousands of different narcotics of their choice.

Vendors advertised prescriptions as authentic in each listing when, in fact, they were fake. For instance, a law enforcement agent who went undercover in November 2023 bought ‘oxycodone’ on the site, but further investigation revealed that the tablets were fentanyl pills in disguise.

The DOJ report also revealed that If Liu is convicted, he will face several charges according to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and additional legal considerations. For instance, a mandatory minimum penalty of life imprisonment for running an illegal platform narcotics conspiracy and other charges. 

DOJ  Cracks Down on Dark Web

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York said concerning the dark web, “The dedicated prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and our law enforcement partners will pursue criminal actors regardless of whether they operate on street corners or in the dark corners of the internet. The so-called ‘dark web’ is not a haven for those who seek to break the law.”

In a similar development, the U.S. and international law enforcement, in a massive dark web crackdown, rounded up 288 persons and seized over $53 million in cash and cryptocurrency. 

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