A former University of Illinois mathematics student will spend the next 13 years in prison for darknet drug trafficking and money laundering. Between March 2017 and May 2018, 24-year-old Stephan Caamano of Champaign, Illinois, sold millions of Xanax pills through a number of darkweb marketplaces and laundered the profits through Bitcoin.
Show Previous Articles About Googleplex
(This is the vendor who “lost the keys” to his Bitcoin wallets after pleading guilty to the drug and money laundering charges.)
According to the criminal complaint the DEA initiated investigations against 24-year-old Stephan Caamano of Champaign, Illinois, in December 2017. The investigations began when Customs and Border Protection had seized a number of pill presses and packages of alprazolam powder addressed to Caamano. CBP then contacted the DEA about Caamano.
On March 8, 2018, DEA agents conducted surveillance of Stephan Caamano at his residence in Champaign, Illinois. Agents recorded Caamano as he placed multiple yellow manila envelopes in a USPS mailbox. Later that day the agents, assisted by a USPS mail carrier, recovered 33 envelopes that resembled those deposited by Caamano. The agents opened one of the envelopes addressed to an individual in St. Louis, Missouri and found pills labelled as “Xanax” and “2” that weighed 335 grams.
The agents then questioned the mail carrier who told them that similar envelopes had been dropped in four mailboxes in the area every day for over a year. The carrier estimated that between 50 and 100 envelopes were dropped in the mailboxes each day. The carrier also disclosed that he had complained to the management about the large number of manila envelopes Caamano had regularly shipped.
As the investigation continued, DEA agents seized thousands of Xanax pills recovered from people who had unexpectedly received one of Caamano’s packages. The DEA agents also conducted controlled deliveries and questioned the recipients. One of the recipients told the agents that he had purchased the Xanax pills from the Reddit user “Googleplex.” The recipient also said that the same Reddit user had been selling Xanax on Dream Market under the same username. The recipient explained that he had ordered from Googleplex three times in 2018. He paid $0 .60 per Xanax pill and spent a total of $14,000 in Monero.
On May 29, 2018, Caamano was arrested and charged in connection with the investigation. Following Caamano’s initial court appearance, Judge Eric I. Long ordered that he undergo a competency evaluation. On Sept. 10, 2018, the court found Caamano competent to proceed and he was arraigned on two counts of distribution of alprazolam. In addition, Caamano was ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
On October 2, 2018, a grand jury returned a seven-count superseding indictment.
Trafficking in a counterfeit drug;
Distribution of a Controlled Substance (2);
Money Laundering (2);
Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from
Specified Unlawful Activity (2)
The money laundering transactions included the payment of Bitcoin in exchange for gold bullion on two occasions.
On April 29, 2019, Caamano pleaded guilty all seven charges in the superseding indictment.
On January 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihms sentenced Caamano to 13 years in federal prison and three years of supervised release. Caamano was also ordered to pay more than $2.1 million believed to be equivalent to the profits he gained from the drug trafficking operation.