Online LSD Dealers ArrestedBy: Mike Fossum - April 17, 2012
Eight suspected drugs dealers have been arrested around the world, for operated a site called ‘The Farmer’s Market,’ which allowed clients to buy illegal drugs via the internet. The site, ran by Marc Willems of the Netherlands, sold LSD, ecstasy, marijuana and other drugs to roughly 3,000 customers in 34 countries, and was only accessible via the Tor Project anonymizing network. U.S. citizen Michael Evron of Argentina also had a hand in the site, and was nabbed while attempting to leave Colombia Sunday. The six other suspects were arrested in the U.S.
Between 2007 and 2009, Willems and Evron processed over 5,500 orders through their site, netting over $1 million. Both are charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, carrying maximum sentences between 20 years and life. Their site was originally called ‘AdamsFlowers’ in 2006, and customers could pay for their drug orders via Western Union, PayPal, iGolder, Pecunix or cash. Authorities also seized hashish, LSD and ecstasy, including 1 indoor ‘shroom grow and 3 indoor marijuana grows. Willems likely made a misstep in using Canada’s email client Hushmail, thinking that the service never handed over message content to authorities, and used it to run his earliest drug deals. Willems turned out to be wrong about Hushmail, likely allowing authorities a way into his dealings. There is no mention of how law enforcement was able to crack Willems’ store in its 66 page indictment.
The Farmer’s Market switched over to using the Tor anonymizer for its transactions in 2010, and the site guaranteed drug delivery worldwide, and offered tutorials on how to package and ship contraband. As a side note, those who use Tor are likely viewed as being terrorists by the FBI. It would seem that users on the Tor network would be difficult to track, as their communications are bounced all around the world before reaching their final destinations, though it is evident that the DEA might have plainly tracked physical packages back to their general sources. Between April and August of 2011, the site brought in about $261,000 via PayPal, and including a transaction per an undercover sting called “Operation Adam Bomb,” to where a DEA agent paid one of the defendants $2,160 for about 30 grams of LSD, which is apparently enough of the drug to get about 300,000 people high. LSD is federally defined and a schedule one drug, and carries a harsh sentence – in yet another instance of government resources being disproportionately used on crimes posing little threat to society as a whole.