DOJ Captures Alleged ‘Architect’ of Darknet Marketplace Incognito

    darknet marketplace

      • DOJ apprehends alleged operator of Incognito Market at JFK Airport.
      • Incognito Market facilitated over $100M in illegal drug sales.
      • Rui-Siang Lin, known as “Pharoah,” managed transactions using cryptocurrency.
      • Lin faces multiple charges with potential life sentences.

    DOJ Apprehends Alleged Operator of Incognito Market

    The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the capture of Rui-Siang Lin, the alleged mastermind behind the darknet marketplace Incognito, at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 18. Lin, purportedly operating under the alias “Pharoah,” is accused of constructing and managing the platform, which facilitated the sale of over $100 million in illegal drugs. This arrest marks a significant breakthrough in the fight against online drug trafficking.

    Federal authorities assert that Incognito Market, active from October 2020 until its closure in March, sold substantial quantities of narcotics, including cocaine and methamphetamines. The platform’s sudden disappearance initially suggested an exit scam, but subsequent reports of blackmail by the administrator indicated deeper criminal activities. The DOJ’s investigation revealed that Lin allegedly extorted users during the market’s final days, leveraging leaked data to demand payments.

    Cryptocurrency and Criminal Charges

    Lin’s operation involved a sophisticated banking system within Incognito Market, where users deposited cryptocurrency into personal vaults labeled as “bank accounts.” Once a transaction was completed, the funds were transferred to the seller’s account, with Incognito charging a 5% fee. This innovative use of cryptocurrency facilitated anonymous transactions, complicating law enforcement efforts to trace illegal activities.

    If convicted, Lin faces severe penalties, including a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison for running a continuing criminal enterprise and a maximum life sentence for narcotics conspiracy. Additional charges include up to 20 years for money laundering and up to five years for conspiracy to sell adulterated and misbranded medication.

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