As part of an operation carried out by federal law enforcement agencies in the USA, a salesperson was detected on the Darknet. The identified person gave the collar from a fingerprint on a high-resolution photograph he shared.
In the US, federal law enforcement organized Operation Dark Gold in 2018, targeting vendors in Darkweb. Jose Robert Porras was one of the names investigated within the scope of the operation.
Multiple federal agencies participated in the operation and lasted a year in total. Investigations were concluded on the date the Dark Gold operation was announced. As part of the investigation, 35 people and their accomplices were caught selling on Darkweb, while cash and cryptocurrencies worth more than $ 35 million were seized.
How did the operation and investigation begin?
How the investigation against Porras started has not been made public. However, according to Darknetlive, which originated from other Operation Dark Gold cases, Porras was using the money laundering service controlled by the US Homeland Security Investigations.
In this system, sellers send a certain amount of Bitcoin to money launderers, while the money launderer sends cash in return. Federal agents take control of this operation at some point and identify dozens of vendors on Darkweb in this way.
The link between Porras and the sellers is revealed by the part that Special Agent Aron Mann from Internal Security Investigations wrote in the criminal complaint: “I detected a seller using the name canna_bars on Dream Marketplace. Canna_Bars registered his account on Dream Marketplace on 20 July 2017.” and various amounts of the drug ‘og kush’ on sale.”
While agent Mann was reviewing the profile at Dream Market, he noticed that the seller had an approved rating at the Hansa Market, which was closed by Dutch law enforcement in 2017. Agent Mann then asked the Dutch authorities for the information of the Canna_Bars account at Dream Market. Agent Mann also mentioned in his criminal complaint that methamphetamine was also listed in the Hansa Market and Porras said that methamphetamine comes directly from Mexico.
Agent Mann stated that Porras misspelled the word ‘quality’ in the drug listing on Dream Market. The agent then took a copy of the descriptions written by the accounts operated by Porras that had similar misspellings and added it to the crime statement.
Fingerprint in the Imgur image
While reviewing the Hansa Market data, Agent Mann found a link to an Imgur album with high-resolution drug photos. Porras uploaded the photo to Imgur because a potential customer requested images of the drug. Porras’ fingerprints could also be seen very clearly in this high-resolution photo.
Agent Mann sent these high-resolution photos to the relevant department and asked for an analysis of the traces. As a result of the analysis, it was discovered that Porras, who was detained by the police for a different crime, matched his fingerprint. Law enforcement later made several purchases from Porras and its accomplices for investigation and followed it step by step.
Admitting the crime, Porras admitted that he had sold a total of 53 kg of drugs and had different accounts with different names. Porras was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison in December 2019.