Alphabay Moderator Sentenced to 11 Years

Bryan Connor Herrell, 26, of Aurora, Colorado, was sentenced today by Judge Dale A. Drozd of the United States District Court to 11 years in jail, U.S. Lawyer McGregor W. Scott for the California Eastern District and Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice reported.

Herrell was a moderator on the AlphaBay marketplace, an illegal website which operated on the so-called darknet, according to court records. Sellers and buyers engaged in hundreds of thousands of illegal transactions on AlphaBay for weapons , drugs, stolen identity information , credit card numbers and other illegal items. AlphaBay was at the time the largest online marketplace for drugs in the world.

“This sentence from an AlphaBay employee shows the joint efforts of U.S. and European law enforcement agencies to identify and prosecute transnational criminal criminals wherever they hide,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Rabbitt. “The department will keep working diligently to hold accountable offenders who use the Dark Web to promote illicit activity wherever they might be.”

Herrell had settled conflicts between vendors and buyers as a moderator on AlphaBay. He is also known as a scam watcher – offering a dedicated service to track attempts to defraude users of AlphaBay. Herrell went by the “Penissmith” and “Botah” monikers and was charged for his involvement in Bitcoin.

On 1 June 2017, Alexandre Cazes, alleged founder of AlphaBay, was indicted by a Fresno grand jury. On 5 July 2017, in connection with his alleged involvement with AlphaBay, the Royal Thai Police, with the assistance of the FBI and DEA, executed an arrest warrant for Alexandre Cazes at his Bangkok residence. Law enforcement discovered Cazes’ laptop open and in an unencrypted state at the time of his arrest. Agents and officers found several text files identifying passwords / passkeys for the AlphaBay website, the AlphaBay servers and other AlphaBay-related online identities. As a result of his death the indictment against Cazes was dismissed. The indictment against Cazes was dismissed as a result of his death.

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