Prolific Cocaine Vendor Insta Arrested by the DEA in Nevada

~6 min read | Published on 2021-07-24, tagged ArrestedDarkweb-VendorDrug-BustDrugs using 1257 words.

An investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration resulted in the arrest of the prolific cocaine vendor “Insta.”
Vincent Cuomo, Abraham Elliott, Paul Engstrom, and Joseph Krieger conspired to distribute large quantities of cocaine through the mail, according to a recent indictment. According to investigators, the defendants operated a vendor account with the username “Insta.” lists Engstrom's house with a value of only $295,000. There is no way that is correct.

In October 2020, according to a criminal complaint, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) started investigating all four defendants for their involvement in a cocaine trafficking operation. At the time, the DEA had not associated the defendants with any darkweb vendor account. It is unclear what event triggered the investigation originally. The DEA noted that Engstrom, who seems to be the DEA’s primary target, had a previous conviction for distributing controlled substances in Nevada. Additionally, the phrasing in the complaint indicates that “large cryptocurrency for cash transactions” led the DEA to Engstrom.Physical Surveillance
During physical surveillance of the defendants, the DEA learned their habits and followed the defendants to different destinations in Nevada, including a Walmart and a Post Office. During one surveillance session, the DEA watched Krieger and Elliott meet in a parking lot and transfer a container from Elliot’s vehicle to Krieger’s vehicle. lists Engstrom's house with a value of only $295,000. There is no way that is correct.

The DEA then followed Krieger to the Post Office and watched him drop packages off at the Post Office. DEA investigators contacted the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the North Las Vegas Police Department. Law enforcement recovered the packages from the bin and deployed a so-called “drug canine” to ensure they had probable cause to open the packages. Surprisingly, the canine hit on only four of the fifteen packages. Law enforcement officers opened the packages and discovered cocaine.
During this investigation, the DEA interdicted and photographed 242 USPS Priority Mail Envelopes believed to have originated from the group. Of the envelopes photographed, forty-four have been seized by DEA and the USPIS, and search warrants have been obtained to examine the contents. All 44 seized envelopes contained a white, powdery substance that field-tested and/or laboratory tested positive for the presence of cocaine. The cocaine seized in thirty-nine of the forty-four envelopes are consistent with amounts for personal use. Cocaine seized in five of the forty-four envelopes constitutes a distribution amount. The total amount of cocaine recovered during this investigation exceeded 5 kilograms.USPIS Involvement
USPIS recognized the packages deposited by Krieger. In 2019, USPIS had identified an individual selling cocaine on the darkweb under the moniker “Insta” who was located in the Las Vegas area. The DEA started investigating Insta directly.

BitLiquid, in Nevada, is located inside Bitcoin Central Las Vegas.

On January 28, 2021, the DEA surveilled Engstrom leaving his stash house with a backpack, and drive directly to BitLiquid, Inc., a “Bitcoin liquidity and consulting service located in Hopkins, Minnesota.”Outed by a Cryptocurrency Exchange
Investigators, through toll analysis on Engstrom’s phone, were able to see that Engstrom communicated with BitLiquid six times between 2:06 pm and 2:21 pm on that day. Further, investigators obtained Bit Liquid’s crypto wallet that utilizes the Ethereum platform. Investigators queried Bit Liquid’s wallet on (aka Etherscan) to search activity on the Ethereum Blockchain at approximately the time Engstrom was observed at BitLiquid. Based on the query, investigators found that on January 28, 2021, at 4:58 pm PST, 37,000 Paxos Standard, was sent from an unknown wallet to BitLiquid’s wallet. The transaction amount was valued at $37,000.00. Investigators further confirmed the financial transaction verifying that on January 29, 2021, BitLiquid, in accordance with their obligations as a Money Transmitting Business, filed a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for the transaction. The report noted that on January 28, 2021, BitLiquid provided $36,900.00 cash to Engstrom in exchange for cryptocurrency
[img=]Engstrom naturally used a cryptocurrency exchange that required his ID.[/img]

During the financial investigation, the DEA was able to identify BitLiquid’s cryptocurrency wallet. By analyzing BitLiquid’s wallet with CTR’s filed by BitLiquid, EG3 was able to identify two of Engstrom cryptocurrency wallets. $1.8 million had transferred through one account and $1.2 million through the other.
[img=]White House Market, which quickly suspends absent vendors, has already banned Insta's account.[/img]
White House Market
In March 2021, the DEA located Insta on White House Market. In March 2021, the DEA made two purchases of seven grams of cocaine each from Insta, using an undercover identity and undercover mailing address. The DEA was unable to intercept the first package directly from the defendants. The undercover purchase arrived at the undercover address in a Priority envelope with the same return address label, packaging, and Priority postage stamp as other envelopes intercepted by the DEA. Investigators intercepted the second package by seizing all packages mailed by the defendants on a certain day. One of the seized packages was addressed to the address used in the undercover purchase.
[img=]White House Market, which quickly suspends absent vendors, has already banned Insta's account.[/img]

In one shipment alone, the DEA intercepted over 300 net grams of cocaine.
White House Market alone shows that “Insta” has made over 3,280 cocaine sales from February 1, 2020, until May 23, 2021. Based on the 2,310 buyer reviews from verified purchases on White House Market (as of May 23, 2021), and assuming the remaining 970 sales were each for the minimum purchase of 3.5 grams of cocaine, a conservative estimate is that “Insta” has sold over twenty kilograms of cocaine for more than $1.9 million in less than four months (ending May 23, 2021).The Raid
In June 2021, the feds executed search warrants at properties controlled by the defendants.
When law enforcement officers entered the premises Engstrom, Cuomo, and Elliot were in the process of packaging cocaine for shipment. Engstrom fled to a back office, locked the door, and refused commands to exit the office. Cuomo and Elliot attempted to run out of the back door and were later found hiding under trucks in the garage. It also appeared that an unknown quantity of a white powdery substance had just been flushed down the toilet. There was a white powdery substance around the toilet bowl, two spoons in the toilet, and a metal tray with white powdery residue on the floor near the toilet. Law enforcement officers found multiple open plastic zipper bags on a television tray filled with a white powdery substance. There was a paper drinking cup filled with a white powdery substance next to two scales used for measuring quantities. Four pressed bricks of a white powdery substance with the embedded insignia “BMW” were recovered from the same office where Engstrom was trying to hide from law enforcement. In addition, two large black filing cabinets contained approximately one hundred Priority Mail Envelopes already packaged and sealed in containers labeled with various quantities that have been previously seized from this drug trafficking operation in US Priority Envelopes.
The DEA conducted four random field tests on the white powdery substance as a sample of the larger seizure. All four field tests tested positive for the presumptive presence of cocaine. In total, the DEA seized 6,800 grams of a white powdery substance that field-tested positive for the presumptive presence of cocaine.
All four defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Engstrom faces an additional money laundering charge.
Complaint (pdf)
Indictment (pdf)

Can anyone suggest a method I can use to scrape the list of arrested vendors and render a pars-able file or individual files I can sort. I have difficulty Scraping with selectors since not every listing has a consistent number of bullet points.

Comments (12)

Not Silent2021-07-26

For Darknetlive it’s different right? Why do I have more time to blog, what’s the fire wall on this thing look like? AWSIlent


One thing for certain my friends and then I’ll return to observe, logically, very easily, there’s much more than us. ~*~*~* SIlent *~*~*~


One thing for certain my friends and then I’ll return to observe, logically, very easily, there’s much more than us. ~*~*~* SIlent *~*~*~


so happy comments are back lol


lol yeah lets just make dozens and dozens of major cashouts that are all reported to FinCEN, good job guys


Do you think they really care about us?

Gobbagooli CF2021-08-02

> I would disagree that coca plant mutation plays any significant role in cocaine distribution and that the “chemically induced” mutation mentioned is a stretch.


imagine not using monero in 2021


Silent, you stupid. Bitcoin mixers don't do the job. Monero is the only way.


What are you talking about?


Buddy why do you type out your sentences like a histogram? I'm trying to decipher your meth rant but my kaleidoscope seems to be malfunctioning

A fair response2021-07-25

Yes, I think it’s safe to assume that the dealers in this case were affiliated with most likely the Sinaloa Cartel, BMW stamps on the bricks is a pretty good indicator. I would also agree that the men charged in this case are small fish that larger Cartel bosses are using to take the heat and quickly offload some product. I would disagree that coca plant mutation plays any significant role in cocaine distribution and that the “chemically induced” mutation mentioned is a stretch. The rundown of the cocaine manufacturer process seems informed. I would agree that the overwhelming majority of Cartel smuggling missions are successful, that a nuclear weapon takes up less space than you average commercial cocaine smuggling trip and that this posses a significant risk to National Security. However, nukes are traceable to the origin where their core was extracted and concentrated from, leaving a paper trail that won’t hold up to a national scale investigation and no country or gang like the Sinaloa Cartel wants to be responsible for that because it means certain doom. Yes, you could probably order some of that radioactive waste you are referencing from China if you could afford it but Cartels just order fentanyl because they like money more than certain doom. No one has declared war on the Sinaloa Cartel and they are mostly accepted as an unnecessary evil, sure there shipments get busted from time to time but that’s just part of an outrageously lucrative business. A national investigation for radioactive or nuclear trafficking would put them out of business if it got used in an incident. I wouldn’t say national governments want to keep the “Big Fish” gangsters happy but it’s more trouble than it’s worth to go after some of them, governments have their money to make too, you know? Yes, drugs kill a significant amount of people around the world each year but COVID-19 kills way more and that “can of worms,” has already been opened. Hope you enjoyed my Delta variation of your response. -Silent