A Merced man and another defendant were sentenced Tuesday for drug trafficking on the dark-web market, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
David Ryan Burchard, 40, of Merced, using the moniker “Caliconnect,” was a “major narcotics vendor” on Silk Road and other dark-web marketplaces, including Agora, Abraxas and AlphaBay, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced in a news release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Burchard to six years and eight months in prison, the release said.
He pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute and to possession with intent to distribute marijuana, investigators said.
Burchard accepted orders for marijuana and cocaine on dark-web marketplaces and then mailed the narcotics from post offices in Merced and Fresno County to his customers throughout the United States, according to investigators. He was paid primarily in Bitcoin.
Federal authorities say Burchard’s operation was worth more than $1.4 million before the website was shut down, describing him as “one of the largest vendors on the Silk Road.” After federal law enforcement shut down the Silk Road website and arrested its founder in October 2013, Burchard moved his narcotics business to Agora and then to AlphaBay, investigators said.
In a separate case, Emil Vladimirov Babadjov, 33, a Bulgarian citizen, using the monikers “Blime-Sub” and “BTH-Overdose,” was a heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine trafficker on the dark web, investigators said.
Babadjov, who was residing in San Francisco, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison, the release said.
Babadjov accepted orders for drugs on AlphaBay and then mailed the drugs from a post office in San Francisco to customers throughout the country, investigators said.
Law enforcement agents made an undercover purchase of heroin from “Blime-Sub” on Oct. 20, 2016, according to the release.
Dark-web marketplaces are used in computer networks designed to conceal the true IP address, a numeric designation that identifies its location on the Internet, investigators said. Those marketplaces also allow for payments to be made only in the form of digital currency, most commonly in bitcoin, according to investigators.
Babadjov is in federal custody, and Burchard was ordered to surrender to federal custody on April 12, the release said.