Large Dark Web Fentanyl brought down by Task Force

11/23/2022Cybercrime, Darknet News, USA

According to authorities, a federal task force busted the biggest fentanyl drug lab ever by deploying undercover investigators who discovered the owner selling on the dark web from his Los Angeles home.

In a press conference, the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and others discussed their efforts to take down dark web kingpin Christopher Hampton, 36, who established his own manufacturing and distribution company and sold more than a million pills of fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Hampton was charged on Friday with 11 counts of manufacturing and distribution as well as one count involving illegal firearms, which if found guilty could land him in a life sentence. J-CODE, the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement Team, has detained over 300 drug dealers and seized 145 guns, along with $42 million and 800 kg of drugs.

According to an indictment, Hampton’s case started two years ago when he built up a drug trafficking network on Tor, a hidden web server. He opened a website called Narco710 and started buying supplies, like a pill press that could make 5,000 tablets every hour.

The business’ packaging and distribution division relocated from his house to a basement in Inglewood, close to downtown Los Angeles.

His business quickly became thriving in the Dark0de Market, where drug users left reviews, one of which read, “This vendor is the GOAT of the dark web.”

Even more, Hampton recorded himself preparing narcotics while toting a sizable bag of blue powder.

“I got the powder for the blues today, too. You use one-tenth of this, so if you’re doing 10 grams, you do 10 grams of the other stuff and 1 gram of [this],” Hampton instructed an associate.

According to the indictment, Hampton sold drugs for more than $1 million in February 2022. For $5,000 a month, an assistant was hired to help with the high amount of sales.

“It’s easy… Pkg and letter delivery at Blue Box USPS Don’t even enter,” Hampton texted to the employee.

Hampton had many questions about police enforcement but also learnt a lot from the research website Quora.

What is a regular shift like for a big metropolitan cop, like an officer in the LAPD? was one of the questions he asked. and “How might I avoid being discovered if the US Marshals, FBI, DEA, and ATF were after me?”

The indictment said that between February and May, undercover federal investigators made transactions from Hampton on Tor, including one for 102 grams of pure methamphetamine.

Hampton seemed to be getting more worried about getting caught around that period and was asking things like, “Can FBI or CIA trace your messages from your phone?” Also, “What are the telltale characteristics of an undercover FBI agent?”

On November 2, task force agents executed search warrants and discovered 450 pounds of suspected narcotics, six pill presses, and illegal guns, including assault rifles and a possible machine gun. He was then detained. Additionally, agents found more than 20,000 fentanyl-containing multicolored “skittles” that were made to seem like oxycodone tablets.

“This is the largest drug seizure we’ve had since 2018, when the task force was initiated,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian Gilhooly said.

While some of the drugs have come from China, an ever-increasing number arrive across the Mexico-California border, he said.

“Due to our proximity to the border, LA is a major hub to dark net,” he said.

The Central District of California’s U.S. attorney, Martin Estrada, stated that his agency is attempting to stop the Mexican drug gangs’ shipping of goods.

He claimed that these groups keep coming up with innovative ways to send big quantities of drugs into the US because they are motivated by money. “Unfortunately, those shipments in the instance of fentanyl look to be growing as the traffickers increase production. Drug cartels are selling more and more fentanyl in bulk.