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Federal Judge Orders FBI Dark Web Sting to be Kept Secret

Magistrate Judge Paige Gossett ordered an FBI dark web sting to be kept confidential despite the evidence necessary to uncover the details of the investigation for a fair and transparent case.

Earlier this month, Tyrell Fears, a graduate of Dutch Fork High School, along with two other men were arrested and charged for conspiracy to murder. Officials and investigators from the FBI suspected Fears of attempting to murder Shauna Clark, the former wife of Michael Young, who is currently serving a 50-year sentence in the SC Department of Corrections.

Fears is a nephew of Young, whom according to sources including The State has always regarded Young as a father figure. According to the FBI, Fears and Vance Voulious served as accomplices to Young and played a key role in plotting out the supposed murder plan to assassinate Clark.

The official report of the FBI and court documents gathered by The Slate revealed that FBI investigators seized a mail bomb that was received, armed, labeled and sent by Fears. Sources also noted that the FBI conducted a secret and confidential dark web sting in order to foil the state prison mail bomb murder plot.

At the official hearing, defense attorney Jim Griffin for Fears requested the FBI to show Judge Gossett details of the investigation in order to maintain a transparent and just hearing. At the hearing, Giffen also provided the court with a copy of The State newspaper entitled “‘Dark Web’ sting snares S.C. inmate in mail-bomb murder plot.”

However, Judge Gossett denied the request of Griffin and ordered the dark web string to be kept confidential. More to that, Judge Gossett denied bond for Fears, stating that setting Fears lose in an ongoing investigation would be dangerous for Clark, who was supposedly targeted in a shooting that left Clark’s father killed by Young.

At the testimony of Fears, it was disclosed that Young used a contraband cellphone from prison to access the dark web and order a mail bomb assassination. Although details of Young’s prison gang involvement was not disclosed, it was revealed that Young used both contacts within the prison and gangs outside the corrections facility to run an illegal drug trafficking business in South Carolina.

One of the key testimonies that emerged from the hearing was that the mail bomb allegedly used to murder Clark was nowhere powerful enough to hurt or kill anyone. The mail bomb had traces of RDX, a military explosive, but the amount was not sufficient.

The actual details of the case are important for the court and the judge to decide the fate of Fears and his fellow accomplice. However, the failure to disclose details of the case and the FBI’s dark web sting sets a negative precedent for FBI investigations moving forward, mostly due to its previous crackdown of child pornography dark web marketplace in December of 2016.

Seven months ago, FBI took down a notorious child pornography dark web marketplace Playpen and arrested more than 900 users, operators and moderators. But, due to illegal warrant and inappropriate investigation methods, the majority of child pornography buyers were set free.

It is important for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to take necessary steps and precautions in completing investigations into serious criminal activities properly, offering fair, just and transparent hearings for the criminals. That way, criminals that are guilty of serious criminal activities will be forced to serve their time and the law enforcement will not have to deal with controversy surrounding illegal warrants and investigation methods.

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