Owners of Empire Market Darknet Site Face Charges for Illegal Trading


Alleged Operators of Dark Web Platform “Empire Market” Face Federal Charges in Chicago

Two individuals, Thomas Pavey and Raheim Hamilton, are facing serious charges in federal court in Chicago for their alleged involvement in operating the dark web platform known as “Empire Market.” The accusations against them span from 2018 to 2020, during which they are said to have facilitated over $430 million in illicit transactions worldwide.

Thomas Pavey, also known as “Dopenugget,” hails from Ormond Beach, Florida, while Raheim Hamilton, who goes by the aliases “Sydney” and “Zero Angel,” resides in Suffolk, Virginia. The indictment against them includes charges of drug trafficking, computer fraud, access device fraud, counterfeit currency, and money laundering, with the possibility of a life sentence if convicted.

Law enforcement officials claim that Pavey and Hamilton previously collaborated on selling fake U.S. currency on AlphaBay, another dark web platform that was shut down in 2017. They allegedly launched Empire Market in 2018, using specialized software and a “.onion” web address to enable anonymous transactions for thousands of vendors and buyers.

The marketplace reportedly facilitated the sale of illegal items such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, counterfeit money, and stolen credit card information. During the investigation, authorities seized assets worth $75 million in cryptocurrency, as well as cash and precious metals.

It is important to note that an indictment does not prove guilt, and both Pavey and Hamilton are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law. Arraignments for the defendants in Chicago have not yet been scheduled. This case serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against illegal activities on the dark web.

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