Prisoner Convicted of Using Dark Web to Obtain Mail Bomb

Darknet Markets Mailbomb purchased Alphabay Market

Michael Young Jr and Vance Volious Jr, two prisoners in Columbia South Carolina were convicted of drug dealing and plotting to kill Michael Young’s ex-wife with a mail bomb that was purchased through the now-defunct darknet market AlphaBay Market.

The evidence presented during the trial revealed that Young had smuggled a cellphone into Broad River Correctional Institution, which was used to manage a drug-dealing operation through the dark web.  Young would purchase drugs through the darknet markets using the smuggled cellphone which was delivered to an associates residence for re-distribution by Volious.

It was during the darknet based drug operation that Young and Voilous plotted to have Young’s ex-wife murdered via a mail bomb.  Young was currently serving a fifty-year sentence stemming from a conviction related to a previous attempt to murder his ex-wife and father-in-law back in 2007.

According to the court case, Young paid an undisclosed fee in bitcoin to have the mailbomb sent to his ex-wife’s home in Irmo.  A co-conspirator, Tyrell Fears, who pleaded guilty, armed the bomb and delivered the inert mail bomb package to a post office in Irmo on June 6th, 2017, which was thankfully recovered by a United States Postal Inspector.  The next morning search warrants and interviews took place which lead back to Young, Fears, and Volious.

Young, age 32 and Voilious age 36, were convicted of mailing a non-mailable explosive with intent to kill, carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony.

The case was a group investigation spanning over several government agencies including:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Joint Terrorism Task Force
  • United States Postal Inspection Service
  • South Carolina Department of Corrections’ Division of Police Services
  • State Law Enforcement Division
  • South Carolina Information and Intelligence Center
  • Richland County Sheriff’s Department
  • Lexington Country Sheriff’s Department
  • Irmo Police Department
  • USC Division of Law Enforcement and Safety
  • Columbia Police Department

“This was a particularly challenging operation, and we got a great result because of great policing.  The case certainly brings to bare the very real and dangerous problem that is contraband cell phones in our prisons.”  said US Attorney Beth Drake as she thanked the local law enforcement team that worked this case. “I would to thank our local, state, and federal partners for working alongside SCDC’s Division of Police Services in this investigation to convictions in this case.  These convictions underscore what I have been saying for years—contraband cell phones in the hands of prisoners pose a significant threat to not only other prisoners and corrections staff but to the general public as well.”


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