“the most prolific dark net fentanyl vendor in the United States and the fourth most prolific in the world” announced the Press Release published late last night by the United States Department of Justice.
Back in late June, the United States Federal Authorities revealed a massive sting operation that specifically targeted darknet market dealers. Soon afterward over 50 darknet market vendors were arrested and charged in a lengthy operation that spanned several states and involved many federal law enforcement agencies.
But it was not until last night that the name of this massive operation was unveiled to the public, Operation Darkness Falls. This was shared in the same press release that focused on the arrest of the San Antonio couple Matthew and Holly Roberts, better known by their Darknet Market Vendor name, MH4LIFE.
MH4LIFE has been a familiar face for the DNM scene, with a transaction history starting on Silk Road back in 2011. Since then, MH4LIFE has remained reputable vendor account that has conducted business on Dream Market, AlphaBay, Darknet Heroes League, Nucleus Market and other popular Darknet Marketplaces. Allegedly their reputation was glowing for providing a wide array of high-quality drugs, and there provide highly praised customer service.
However, it was clear from the press reports that what put a gigantic target on the Robert’s was their decision to sell fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid which has led to an alarming rate of overdose fatalities in the United States. According to the Justice Department, MH4Life was the most prolific darknet market vendor of fentanyl in the US, and the fourth most known in the world at the time of their arrest.
Charges for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and other charges were filed against Matthew Roberts and Holly Roberts when the two were apprehended back in April. From 2011 to 2018, the Robert’s distributed various fentanyl analogs, cocaine, MDMA, LSD, heroin, meth, cannabis, oxys, xanax, and more across various marketplaces. Often under different vendor names. The names mentioned in the press release include MH4LIFE, MRHIGH4LIFE, FASTFORWARD, and TRAPPEDINTIME.
When we checked into the reported vendor accounts we discovered MH4LIFE’s Dream Market account was still visible (although marked as banned) and had an impressive rating of 4.89/5 , and over 4,000 verified transactions between Dream Market, Nucleus, Agora Market. But what really stuck out was the most recent update on MH4LIFE’s profile which indicated that they were in trouble, and cautioned customers that addresses and packages may have been compromised.
“Code Red. Change your drop spots immediately. This is all I can say. Take the loss and leave negative fb. Assume adress and packs have been compromised. B Do not send messages or inquire about past orders delivered. Please trust and cut ties. This tragic 4 all. 🙁
Email me (PGP) with a new address if you want to risk delivery by Friday on items from this weekend and monday. After this date will no longer be longing in to site or email. I am very sorry about this. No need worring bout the past but be cautious starting now. Safety first. Not sure what happened exactly and will not discuss more 4 op sec reason. E SAFE and God Bless u all 4 being their 4 us.
My advice is to let this die down and don’t draw any unneeded attention to the location it was coming from or to yourselves. Any problem would not come right away but the possibility of being watched. It could just be a scare so take caution and be discreet. Instead of disappearing am being honest. Will delete this soon.” MH4LIFE
The vendor account on Dream Market where the above warning was published shows that their account was banned in May and the last time anyone had logged into the account was dated April 25, 2018. One troubling thing our team has noticed in the Press Release is it originally claims the couple was arrested in April of this year but goes on to mention the couple operates their vendor accounts until May 12, 2018. While it may just be a simple error, that’s still worth noting.
It was also mentioned that the Robert’s utilized very professional OPSEC methods when conducting business. They kept their messages and devices encrypted, they purchased all of their postage from third parties with cryptocurrency and used glow bracelets and other objects as decoys in every order.
The Roberts would send their crypto to their digital currency exchanger for cleaning and to receive fiat in exchange. This may mean their arrest was tied directly to the honeypot laundering service which Law Enforcement took over and controlled for over a year. Between the laundering service honeypot, and the tens of thousands the Federal Authorities budgeted for blockchain analysis software, it’s clear that LE has a new set of tools and methods to track darknet vendors and shoppers.
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The Robert’s case is still pending, and filed with the US District Court in Cleveland. We will continue to follow this case and publish updates as we receive them.