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Staten Island Father, Son Busted For Selling Opioids Over 'Dark Web': Feds

By Ben Fractenberg | August 24, 2017 8:28am

STATEN ISLAND — A Staten Island father and son are facing up to 20 years in prison after getting busted for selling fentanyl and oxycodone over the “dark web,” federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Michael Luciano, 58, and Philip Luciano, 29, sold the synthetic opioids on a site called AlphaBay under the name “Zane61” from at least February 2016 through July 2017, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office said. Undercover agents purchased drugs from the pair in June and had it shipped to a Bronx address.

“The defendants’ alleged scheme used the dark web — a place where some criminals think they can hide by trying to conceal their identity and transactions — to sell fentanyl and oxycodone, two highly addictive and potentially lethal opioids,” acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement. “I want to thank our partners at [Homeland Security Investigations] for bringing this father-son duo’s alleged misconduct out of the dark."

Investigators first caught on to the father-son duo after they intercepted a package in March shipped to Michael from China that contained 64 grams of fentanyl and 37 grams of an "unknown powdered substance," according to court papers. 

Then in April, feds investigating an overdose said they busted another dealer dubbed "PeterTheGreat" in South Carolina and saw he had made transactions with the father and son.  

They then monitored the Staten Island duo while they marketed their drugs on the site and said users left comments including, “Great stealth, fast shipping, legit product. Perfect 10/10.”

The feds executed a search warrant on their home in July and the father then admitted they bought and sold drugs through the site and that Philip knew how to use the dark web and purchase bitcoins to try and mask their transactions, officials said.

Investigators also recovered a cellphone and iPad, which contained evidence including text messages between the two referencing the operation, photographs of drugs and accessed websites associated with bitcoins, prosecutors said.

They both surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning and were expected to be arraigned in Manhattan Federal Court.

AlphaBay was shut down in July after being touted as the largest drug marketplace on the dark web, according to California federal prosecutors.

Hundreds of thousands of people used the site for more than two years to buy drugs, fraudulent identification documents, firearms and toxic chemicals, amongst other things, prosecutors said.

Michael and Philip were both charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute two controlled substances.

Information on their lawyers was not immediately available.