FRESNO (CBS SF) — Two drug dealers who used the ‘Dark Web’ to collect orders for narcotics ranging from cocaine, fentanyl and heroin and then delivered them using the U.S. Postal Service have been sentenced to federal prison.
Federal prosecutors said David Ryan Burchard, 40, of Merced, and Vladimirov Babadjov, 33, a Bulgarian and U.S. dual-national formerly residing in San Francisco, were using Dark web sites such as AlphaBay and Silk Road to sell illegal drugs.
Burchard was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison while Babadjov was ordered to serve five years and 10 months.
Dark web sites such as AlphaBay and Silk Road operate on “The Onion Router” or “TOR” network, a special network of computers on the internet, which are distributed around the world.
The network is designed to conceal the true Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of computers that access the network, and thus the locations and identities of the network’s users and the computer servers hosting the websites, which are referred to as “hidden services.”
The “hidden services” have complex web addresses generated by a computer algorithm ending in “.onion” and can only be accessed through specific web browser software designed to access the TOR network.
AlphaBay was shut down by U.S. law enforcement on July 5, 2017, and is no longer in operation. Silk Road was shut down on Nov. 6, 2014 with its founder Ross William Ulbricht sentenced to life without parole.
According to court documents, Burchard, using the moniker “Caliconnect,” was a major narcotics vendor on the Silk Road and other dark-web marketplaces, including Agora, Abraxas and AlphaBay.
Burchard accepted orders for marijuana and cocaine on the dark web and then mailed the narcotics from post offices in Merced and Fresno County to customers located throughout the United States.
He was paid primarily in Bitcoin and conducted sales in excess of $1.4 million on the Silk Road before that marketplace was closed.
In a separate case, Babadjov, using the monikers “Blime-Sub” and “BTH-Overdose,” was a heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine trafficker on the dark-web marketplace AlphaBay.
Babadjov accepted orders for drugs on AlphaBay and then mailed the drugs from a post office in San Francisco to customers throughout the United States.
On October 20, 2016, law enforcement agents made an undercover purchase of heroin from “Blime-Sub,” which was delivered to a post office box in the Eastern District of California. The parcel contained a mixture of fentanyl and heroin.
Babadjov is currently in federal custody, and Burchard was ordered to surrender to federal custody on April 12, 2018.