Feds Charge 2 Men With Operating Dark Web Marketplace ‘Empire Market’


Two men were charged in federal court Friday for allegedly operating “Empire Market,” a dark web marketplace that allowed users to buy and sell illegal goods and services anonymously.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Thomas Pavey, also known as “Dopenugget,” and Raheim Hamilton, also known as “Sydney” and “Zero Angel,” owned and operated the market from 2018 to 2020. The market was reportedly responsible for more than 4 million transactions that the feds value at more than $430 million. More than $75 million worth of cryptocurrency, cash, and precious metals were seized.

Pavey and Hamilton are being charged with conspiring with each other and others to engage in drug trafficking, computer fraud, access device fraud, counterfeiting, and money laundering. The duo faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Empire Market reportedly sold controlled substances, including heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and LSD, as well as counterfeit currency and stolen credit card information.

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Pavey and Hamilton also reportedly worked together to advertise and sell counterfeit US currency on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay, which was shut down in 2017.

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