US: 3 Years Prison for International Darknet Drug Trafficker

A Denver federal court sentenced a member of the darknet drug-trafficking organization “ItalianMafiaBrussels” to three years in prison for importing controlled substances to the US, according to Wednesday’s US Attorney’s Office press release.

Silk Road 3.0 (Photo: Nialldawson, Wikimedia Commons)Silk Road 3.0 (Photo: Nialldawson, Wikimedia Commons)

Romanian Leonardo Cristea, 22, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import controlled substances and money laundering as part of an international drug ring.

He was arrested in May 2016 along with the alleged leader of the group, Filip Lucian Simion, in Bucharest, Romania and extradited to Colorado. Simion also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in August. Police arrested another 10 people in Bruges, Belgium.

The investigation into the drug ring began when a package sent to Boulder from Belgium was intercepted by US customs. Officers found more than two ounces of MDMA, a psychoactive drug found in ecstasy tablets.

“The transnational organization operated online as the darknet vendor “ItalianMafiaBrussels” or “IMB” and operated on black markets, such as the now-defunct Silk Road and Silk Road 2.0, to sell the MDMA throughout the United States and other countries,” the press release states.

Following the discovery, the Boulder County Drug Task Force made a “controlled delivery” of the drugs to the address in Boulder, the Daily Camera reported. The recipient of the package agreed to cooperate with the police.

A joint effort of US and European police uncovered that the drug ring shifted kilogram quantities of MDMA between 2013 and 2016. On average, a pill contains only 70 to 120 mg of MDMA, according to the European Journal of Neuroscience.

While an undercover officer of the Department of Homeland Security was in communication with the drug ring for over a year, police in Belgium kept Cristea, Simion and two others under surveillance with the help of French and Romanian authorities.