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Alleged Owner of Incognito Market Arrested in New York for Drug Trade

In this post:

  • U.S. authorities have arrested and charged a Taiwanese national with operating a darknet drug bazaar, Incognito Market, for crypto-denominated sales of illegal narcotics.
  • Incognito Market shut down in March 2024 after reportedly pulling an exit scam that left users unable to withdraw their funds.
  • Lin allegedly made millions from operating Incognito Market, which took a 5% cut of every sale.

Rui-Siang Lin, also known as “Pharoah,” from Taiwan, has been arrested on charges of selling at least $100 million worth of illegal drugs online through a site on the dark web known as the “Incognito Market.”

Lin, 23, was apprehended at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 18 in relation to his ownership and operation of “Incognito Market.” The dark web marketplace facilitated the global sale and purchase of illicit drugs under the guise of Pharoah and faro, the Justice Department said.

Also read: ZachXBT Flags 7 More Wallets Tied to North Korea’s Lazarus Group

The Taiwanese national was scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court late Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willis following his arrest.

Incognito Market Founder Arrested at JFK Airport

Prosecutors said Lin ran and oversaw all of the operations at Incognito Market, including employees, vendors, and customers while posing as “Pharoah.” They added that Lin had the “ultimate decision-making authority over every aspect of the multimillion-dollar operation” from its inception in October 2020 to its closure in March this year.

The dedicated prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and our law enforcement partners will pursue criminal actors regardless of whether they operate on street corners or in the dark corners of the internet […] The so-called ‘dark web’ is not a safe haven for those who seek to break the law.

                                                                           U.S. Attorney Damian Williams 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director in Charge James Smith added that: “For nearly four years, Rui-Siang Lin allegedly operated ‘Incognito Market,’ one of the largest online platforms for narcotics sales, conducting $100 million in illicit narcotics transactions and reaping millions of dollars in personal profits.”

Rui-Siang Lin Criminal Charges

Rui-Siang Lin is charged with one count of a continuous criminal business, one count of narcotics conspiracy, one count of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to sell contaminated and misbranded pharmaceuticals.

The first charge, also known as the “kingpin statute,” carries a mandatory minimum penalty of life in prison. Ross Ulbricht, the inventor and operator of the now-defunct Silk Road darknet drug marketplace, was convicted of the same offense and sentenced to life in prison. 

The narcotics conspiracy offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison. The remaining two offenses have a total potential sentence of 25 years in jail.

The arrest of ‘Incognito Market’ owner Rui-Siang Lin is a result of the continued working relationship the DEA has with our law enforcement partners in targeting individuals who use the dark web as a marketplace to promote the sale of illicit narcotics.

Mr. Lin’s alleged actions of putting profits before public health were not only reckless and dangerous, but unconscionable. We will continue to make sure those who hide behind a keyboard and use the dark web to profit off lives face justice.

                                            Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III of the DEA’s New York Division.

The Justice Department has ordered the confiscation of cryptocurrency stored in Lin’s Binance and Kraken accounts.

Lin allegedly gained millions by running Incognito Market, which took a 5% cut of each sale. According to prosecutors, the darknet market had its own “bank,” which provided users with an additional degree of anonymity by allowing them to deposit cryptocurrencies into their own accounts, which were then immediately transferred from buyers to sellers minus the charge.

The Criminal Case Proceedings

The DOJ highlighted that the marketplace shut down in March of this year, coinciding with a previously disclosed exit scam that allegedly stole millions of dollars in client BTC and XMR.

According to the complaint, Lin founded and ran Incognito Market while an undergraduate student at National Taiwan University.

Lin, a self-described crypto developer and enthusiast of the privacy coin Monero, told X that he led a four-day training on cybercrime and cryptocurrencies for 30 police officers at the Saint Lucia Police Academy in early April.


Cryptopolitan Reporting by Florence Muchai

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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