BUSTED: "Incognito Market" Dark Web Drug Kingpin Nabbed At JFK Airport

By Lisa Pelgin | Thursday, 23 May 2024 01:45 AM
Views 2.4K

In a significant crackdown on dark web drug trafficking, a 23-year-old Taiwanese national, Rui-Siang Lin, has been apprehended on charges of operating an illicit online narcotics marketplace.

The operation, known as the "Incognito Market," is alleged to have facilitated the sale of over $100 million worth of illegal drugs.

Lin, who also goes by the alias "Pharoah," was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Saturday. The Justice Department has described the operation as "one of the largest illegal narcotics marketplaces on the internet."

Attorney General Merrick Garland, in his statement, accused Lin of being the mastermind behind the Incognito Market. He said, "As alleged, Rui-Siang Lin was the architect of Incognito, a $100 million dark web scheme to traffic deadly drugs to the United States and around the world."

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The Incognito Market, which was taken offline in March, was a dark web platform that enabled users to anonymously trade illegal narcotics. According to the Justice Department, the site facilitated the sale of hundreds of pounds of cocaine, methamphetamines, and other drugs since its inception in October 2020.

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James Smith, an assistant director in the FBI's New York office, highlighted the dangerous nature of Lin's operation. He said, "Under the promise of anonymity, Lin's alleged operation offered the purchase of lethal drugs and fraudulent prescription medication on a global scale."

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The Incognito Market boasted thousands of listings for illegal narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, LSD, MDMA, oxycodone, methamphetamines, ketamine, and alprazolam. The Justice Department noted that the site mimicked legitimate e-commerce platforms with features such as branding, advertising, and customer service.

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The indictment revealed that vendors were required to pay a five percent fee on every sale to the "Incognito Market," resulting in millions of dollars in profits for Lin. If convicted of narcotics conspiracy, Lin could face a life sentence.

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Taipei's foreign ministry spokesman, Jeff Liu, disclosed during a briefing on Tuesday that Lin had been employed at Taiwan's embassy in St Lucia since November. St Lucia is an eastern Caribbean nation and one of Taiwan's few allies. Lin had applied to work as part of the embassy's technical corps as an alternative to mandatory military service for Taiwanese men. Liu stated that Lin had "behaved normally" and was expected to be discharged in July.

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According to Liu, Lin had applied for leave and left St Lucia on May 18. He was en route to Singapore via New York when he was arrested. Liu added that Taiwan is closely monitoring the case.

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban lauded the arrest, stating, "This arrest underscores the dedicated, ongoing efforts of law enforcement to identify and dismantle illicit drug networks operating from every shadowy recess of the marketplace."

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