The attorney of a father and son accused of selling oxycodone and fentanyl on the darknet announced that both defendants will enter guilty pleas at their upcoming court appearance. As with many opioid dealers targeted over the last few years, both the father and son face mandatory minimum prison sentences of five years for admitting to a controlled substance distribution conspiracy. Even though the plea deal does not negate the mandatory minimum, the agreement might reduce the maximum sentence by a few years.
Michael Luciano and Philip Luciano—59-years-old and 30-years-old, respectively—sold fentanyl and oxycodone on the Alphabay darknet market. They used the pseudonym “Zane61” and had collected 112 positive reviews within 12 months of July 2017. A court document filed by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Paul Nugent pointed out that 113 users had reviewed Zane61; out of 113 reviews for Zane61’s products, less than one percent (0.88%) of reviews were not completely positive. The total number of reviews, though, does not necessarily match the total number of sales.
Homeland Security Investigations, according to the criminal complaint, launched their investigation after customs intercepted a package containing more than 60 grams of fentanyl and another 37 grams of a suspected fentanyl analogue. While under investigation, federal agencies arrested an even larger darknet fentanyl vendor: PeterTheGreat. PeterTheGreat, a South Carolina based fentanyl vendor, sold a significant quantity of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to both fentanyl users and other darknet vendors. PeterTheGreat kept transaction logs.
Those transaction logs aided Homeland Security Investigations and other agencies catch other darknet buyers and vendors. The Luciano father and son aka Zane61 had been purchasing fentanyl from PeterTheGreat. With all the evidence needed, federal agents raided the Luciano home and arrested the father and son. The mother, it turned out, had not known about the drug operation.
Both the father and son confessed to distributing fentanyl and oxycodone when questioned by Homeland Security Investigations agents. Not that law enforcement needed their confessions, though; an iPad found in the home contained transaction logs and the Alphabay account password in the official Notes application. Text messages between the father and son discussed drug shipments and local buyers. The Apple devices had photo albums with the same pictures used in Zane61 product listings on Alphabay.
According to the duo’s defense attorney, both will be admitting conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The deal will be announced in Brooklyn federal court in early August.