Father and Son Sentenced To Prison for Selling Drugs on the Dark Web
Michael Luciano and his son, Philip Luciano, have been sentenced to 5 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, for selling fentanyl and oxycodone on a dark web marketplace. According to the court, the duo were active vendors on the now shutdown Alphabay market, and their services contributed to a non-fatal drug overdose in 2015. As claimed by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, they continued to sell fentanyl and oxycodone after the non-fatal overdose incident and completed orders across the globe until authorities took them into custody.
As stated in a press release by the Justice Department, the undercover agents spotted an Alphabay user page with the name “Zane61” selling all kinds of narcotics. According to the statement, the page was set up on February 1, 2016 and engaged in illegal sales until July 29, 2017. As of July 2017, there were many user feedbacks – of 113 occasions, 112 occasions were positive reviews. A further investigation revealed that the said user had placed reviews on many narcotic vendors’ profiles as well, indicating that he was also a customer on the Alphabay marketplace.
On March 11, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package shipped from China to a residential address in Staten Island, New York. The investigation revealed that this package was being delivered to Mike Luciano. The authorities opened the package and discovered 64 grams of fentanyl and 37 grams of unknown substances. On April 26, 2017, authorities found the vendor who shipped the drugs to Mike Luciano through an investigation into a case related to an accidental fatal overdose. This discovery gave some hints to law enforcers to look further into Michael and Philip Luciano. During the execution of arrests and a search warrant, it was found that the vendor, with “PeterTheGreat” as a username, had made a series of transactions with seven of them between him and Zane61. Also, authorities discovered that Zane61 had given two different residential addresses to the vendor including the one at Staten Island.
Undercover authorities placed an order to Zane61 for fentanyl and paid with Bitcoins on June 15, 2016. On June 19, 2017, the Federal Law Enforcement agents intercepted the package at a post office in the Bronx, and discovered drugs concealed in a medical instrument. A return address was on the package. However, authorities clarified that the return address did not exist even though it appeared to be valid. Authorities went all out to search their Staten Island residence and found Michael and Philip Luciano. Michael Luciano then admitted to selling drugs on the dark web. According to him, he used to buy drugs on the regular internet, and after two separate interceptions by the authorities, he then involved his son who knows how to operate the dark web. He revealed that he used to order drugs from China due to how cheap they were. One hundred grams of narcotics are worth $1000 in China.
Michael admitted that his son, Philip also used the same account to sell oxycodone. He further revealed that after an order had been placed, he packaged the order while his son wrote the fake return address on the package. He then would go and drop the package at a local post office. The money they made from the operation was used to offset the purchasing cost. They lost 5 Bitcoins when authorities shut down the Silk Road marketplace. Authorities seized devices and an iPad belonging to Philip which was used for the drug dealings. Some photographs of fentanyl patches and other pointed evidence of their drug operation were discovered on the devices.
Philip Luciano has a master’s degree as a physician’s assistant and recently obtained another nursing degree.
Michael Luciano and Philip Luciano pled guilty to possession and distribution with the intent to distribute the three controlled substances, fentanyl, oxycodone, and butyryl fentanyl (a fentanyl analog). According to the law, they faced a mandatory sentence for a minimum of 5 years in prison.
Aside from their five year prison sentence, they were also handed four years of a supervised released clause, and forfeiture money judgments of $15,953. Also, some properties and 2.5 Bitcoin were forfeited to the authorities.Drug overdose has been a serious concern, and authorities have issued a warning to people, especially Yakima, on the possibility of consuming bad drugs ordered from the dark web.