Today we are going to talk about the lengths that law enforcement (LE) will go to try and catch you slipping.
The thread that inspired this post was the following SR thread.
The first question is, can LE ship drugs to buyers to try and set them up for drug charges? Let us just say, that they have done it to a Silk Road user before who went by the name of Flush aka Chronicpain aka Curtis Green
In April 2012, a DEA undercover agent in Maryland posing as a drug smuggler began communicating with “Dread Pirate Roberts” on Silk Road about selling a large amount of illegal drugs. “Dread Pirate Roberts” instructed [Curtis] Green to help the smuggler find a drug dealer who could buy a large amount of drugs, court papers say. Green found a buyer and agreed to act as the middleman for a $27,000 sale of a kilogram of cocaine. Green gave the DEA agent his address.
An undercover U.S. Postal Service inspector delivered the cocaine to Green’s house in Utah on Jan. 17.
So as you can see, whether you view it as entrapment or not, once they have evidence against you, they will eventually figure out a way to get something on you and bust you for it like they did to Curtis Green.
The Secret Service posed as a vendor for fake IDs online for 5 years and actually shipped fake IDs that they made to buyers on an online Russian forum.
The US Government’s “Operation Open Market” resulted in indictments against 55 defendants. According to Wired, Special Agent Mike Adams shipped out more than 125 fake IDs over about five years of activity while going by the username Celtic. Amazingly, the entire scheme started when the government arrested the real Celtic, a Nevada man who got caught shopping at a Whole Foods where he’d previously used a fake credit card.
Law enforcement discovered counterfeiting equipment among his possessions and learned about his online activities. Adams assumed his online identity and even improved Celtic’s cred, shipping near-flawless IDs and becoming a trusted seller on Carder.ru.
As you can see in this article, the Secret Service again sold illegal items to people online in order to bust them. Several of the buyers used their real addresses and sent real photos of themselves to this officer to have their IDs made, resulting in being arrested by the feds.
And in this particular case, the feds charged all the defendants under something called the RICO act.
“The main indictment is noteworthy because, in addition to the usual mix of credit card fraud and false identification charges, the 39 defendants have been charged under the mob-busting RICO act – a first for a cybercrime prosecution.
Enacted in 1970 to help the FBI crack down on the mafia, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lets the feds hold every member of a criminal organization individually responsible for the actions of the group as a whole. The losses collectively inflicted by the Carder.su members are easily enough to give every RICO defendant 20 years in prison.”
When you commit crimes online, especially in an online community, the feds may be able to hold you accountable for the actions of other users on that same community. So make sure when you do your freedom fighting, or whatever you choose to do, that you take this into considering. Always weigh out the worst case scenario, should you get busted, because the LE will try and set you up.
One last example of how LE will try and set you up, but not relating to online communities is when they put together a fake sweepstakes in Los Angeles.
Sheriff’s deputies in La Mirada attempted a rope-a-dope on some alleged criminals by offering them a fake sweepstakes prize. Out of the 960 letters sent to these “people of interest” only eight showed up at the La Mirada Holiday Inn to collect their prize, according to the Whittier Daily News.
Posing as the “Pelican Marketing Group,” deputies sent letters last week to people throughout the county wanted in connection with crimes ranging from misdemeanor warrants to murder.
According to the report, the suspects were advised to bring their letter and identification to the Holiday Inn, and told that they were guaranteed a prize worth at least $100, and would be one of 200 people with a chance to win a 2010 BMW 238i sedan.
They were all smiles when they showed up to collect their prizes, Deputy Janet Ramirez told the newspaper. “Once they tell them they’re under arrest, the smile fades quickly,” she said.
So the reason I made this post, was for those of you who think that LE will not go to certain lengths to try and set you up for charges. They will do it if they want you bad enough, and if you fall for it, they might get you on some tough charges. Curtis Green is facing up to 40 years for the sting operation by the DEA on him and the users who purchased fake IDs on the Russian forum could face up to 20 years each since they can be charged under the RICO act. Always keep these things in mind when conducting activities online and always take the worst case scenario into account.
It only takes one mistake to get caught and the government has unlimited resources and super computers to try and catch you slipping. You may only have a few laptops, desktops, servers, but nothing compared to the what they have. Be careful everyone.