An Irvine man who was a top drug seller in one of the world’s largest darknet marketplaces, was sentenced on Monday to 10 years in federal prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a written statement.
Tyler Reeves, 29, who sold narcotics under the name “Platinum45,” pleaded guilty in March to distributing methamphetamine and money laundering, and was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine in addition to the prison time, the DOJ said.
The online criminal marketplace, “Wall Street Market,” was the largest on the dark web for selling drugs, hacking tools and financial-theft wares in the United States, Germany and Brazil, but business was mostly drug-related, authorities said.
The Irvine man was described as one of the top five vendors on online marketplace, selling methamphetamine, prescription painkillers, stimulants and sedatives on the now now-defunct darknet marketplace between mid-2017 and September 2018, the DOJ said.
After a nearly two-year investigation, investigators from the United States and Europe broke up the operation, and German police seized “Wall Street Market,” U.S. federal authorities announced early in May.
“Wall Street Market” went down “for maintenance” in April, sending users into a panic as they accused the operators of pulling an “exit scam” and running off with their cryptocurrency. Mashable reported.
That’s when authorities swept in.
Investigators found that the operators took about $11 million from users in the so-called “exit scheme,” according to the DOJ.
The market’s three German operators were arrested and charged in Europe and the U.S. for conspiring to launder money and distribute illegal drugs, according to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court.
It was one of the biggest reported busts on the dark web.
Reeves alone sold narcotics to nearly 300 customers globally, including undercover law enforcement officers who made six purchases from him, according to the DOJ.
In one transaction, officers paid Reeves $2,230 in virtual currency in exchange for two ounces of meth; a sale Reeves admitted to, officials said.
Reeves allegedly also accepted Bitcoin and converted it to U.S. dollars, resulting in a money laundering charge.
During a search at Reeves’ home in September 2018, officers found methamphetamine, oxycodone, 13 un-serialized firearms, 14 un-serialized silencers, extensive computing equipment and gold and silver bars, prosecutors said.
Authorities said parts of the firearms were bought online and then manufactured along with the silencers.
It’s unclear whether the firearms were intended for sale.