ICE part of international crackdown on darknet drug dealers

September 22, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and other agencies were part of an international operation to disrupt drug trafficking on the darknet. As part of the investigation, charges were also brought on against a key member of a Southern California drug trafficking organization, the ICE said in a statement.

The Southern California drug trafficking organization member allegedly distributed methamphetamine and other illicit narcotics to thousands of customers in at least 35 states and numerous countries around the world.

Andres Bermudez of Palmdale, who allegedly supplied methamphetamine to the “Stealthgod” crew, was named in a criminal complaint filed on September 18. An affidavit in this case outlines how Bermudez allegedly supplied methamphetamine to the “Stealthgod” drug trafficking organization, and details negotiations involving transactions of 30 and 40 pounds of methamphetamine.

Bermudez, 37, is currently a fugitive sought by federal authorities. Earlier this year, five other members of the narcotics ring were arrested on federal charges, and authorities made substantial seizures of narcotics and cryptocurrency.

Along with the HIS special agents, members of the Los Angeles Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) Task Force were also part of the team that brought charges against the Southern Californian drug dealer.

This case is a part of Operation DisrupTor, building on the success of prior actions targeting darknet vendors including the takedown of Wall Street Market, which was one of the world’s largest dark web marketplaces. Adter the Wall Street Market takedown in May 2019, and the filing of federal charges in Los Angeles against the administrators, law enforcement in the US and Europe obtained intelligence that allowed them to identify darknet drug traffickers.

During Operation DisrupTor, the Los Angeles JCODE Task Force successfully dismantled a drug trafficking organization that used online monikers such as “Stealthgod” to sell methamphetamine and MDMA (or ecstasy) on multiple darknet marketplaces, including Wall Street Market. Investigators have linked the crew to more than 18,000 illicit drug sales to customers around the world.

Earlier this year, members of JCODE executed search warrants that led to the seizure of more than 60 parcels containing narcotics that were ready to be shipped to more than 35 states around the nation.

Members of JCODE arrested five defendants allegedly at the center of the “Stealthgod” organization and seized roughly 120 pounds of methamphetamine, seven kilograms of MDMA and five firearms during law enforcement actions in the City of Los Angeles in February.