A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty in Federal court to possession with intent to distribute a variety of drugs through Alphabay, Hansa, Dream Market, and several other darkweb marketplaces. He admitted selling more than $1.5 million worth of drugs over the course of his career.
Christopher D. Bania, 26, of Hobart, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to a single charge of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced the case update on September 12, three days after Bania had entered his guilty plea.
In the plea agreement, Bania admitted poession with intent to distribute the following Schedule I, II, and III substances:
MDMA; Cocaine; DMT; Ketamine; LSD; Methamphetamine; Heroin; MDA; Cocaine base; Methaqualone; and Marijuana.
He admitted that he advertised these substances through a number of darkweb marketplaces, including Alphabay; Dream Market; Hansa Market; TradeRoute; Zion Market; and Wallstreet Market, among others.
Although Bania acknowledged that he had possessed methamphetamine, cocaine base, and heroin, he denied selling the substances on the darkweb.
Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Paul E. Maxwell, Jr. said:
Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the value of collaboration among state, local, and federal agencies throughout the criminal justice system. Each entity within this investigation played a critical role in unmasking the offender who preyed on the vulnerable from behind a computer.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents seized two international parcels originating from Belgium addressed to Christopher D. Bania on February 21, 2019. Both packages contained MDMA. Following up on the package seizure, the Brown County Drug Task Force obtained a search warrant for Bania’s home and executed the search shortly after receiving the warrant. Officers with the Task Force found a cache of drugs and other items associated with drug distribution, such as:
- large vacuum-sealed bags;
- Digital scales with residue;
- Bags of vinyl gloves;
- Multiple measuring spoons;
- Multiple USPS shipping receipts;
- Packaging material;
- USPS Postage labels
- Detailed log books;
- Multiple “drug ledger” notebooks detailing Bania’s cryptocurrency transactions
- 77.46 grams of hash oil;
- 7.02 grams of amphetamine;
- 6.77 grams of cocaine;
- 0.61 grams of LSD;
- 0.02 grams of fentanyl;
- Five vials of liquid Testosterone Enanthate;
- Five vials of Nandrolone Decanoate;
- One vial of Ketamine
- 79 Carisoprodol pills;
- 43 Modafinil pills;
- and 17 Alprazolam (Xanax) pills.
Investigators went through Bania’s “meticulous log books,” which documented his transactions on several darkweb marketplaces. They were able to document the totality of his drug purchases from other drug distributors (that he had purchased for resale).
- 50,587.09 grams of marijuana;
- 5,255,70 grams of MDMA;
- 600 LSD tabs;
- 449.00 grams of MDA;
- 305,75 grams of 2C-B;
- 114.05 grams of hash oil;
- 85.50 grams of cocaine;
- 57 Alprazolam pills;
- 25 Methaqualone pills;
- 22.50 grams of DMT;
- 17.50 grams of amphetamine;
- 1.00 grams of methamphetamine;
- 0.50 grams of cocaine base;
- and 0.25 grams of heroin.
Investigators learned that Bania repackaged the drugs he had purchased and then shipped them to customers throughout the United States. He packed the drugs in matchbooks and attached his own “business label” thanking the customer for their purchase and keeping his business “on fire.”
Although the investigation into Bania started after the Customs agents seized the MDMA packages, investigators learned that the United States Postal Inspection Service had been investigating Bania’s vendor accounts since 2018. Postal Inspectors had taken over the account of a cooperating defendant in 2018 and used the account to make routine purchases from Bania’s vendor accounts.
Bania agreed to forfeit $1.5 million in cryptocurrency and $85,000 in U.S. Currency that law enforcement had already seized. He faces up to 20 years in prison as well as a $1 million fine.
He will be sentenced on December 9, 2019, at the Federal Courthouse in Green Bay.
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