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Press Release

Fentanyl and Heroin Sold on Dark Web Marketplace

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California
San Francisco Man Arrested for Distribution of a Controlled Substance

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury in Fresno returned an indictment today against Emil Vladimirov Babadjov, 31, of San Francisco, charging him with distributing fentanyl and heroin, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. Babadjov was arrested and made his initial court appearance on December 14, 2016, in San Francisco.

According to the complaint filed on December 9, 2016, Babadjov, using the vendor names “Blime-Sub” and “BTH-Overdose,” was a heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine distributor on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay. The reverse order of the word “Blime” is “Emil B.” Dark web marketplaces are operated on computer networks designed to conceal the true Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computers accessing the network. Dark web marketplaces allow for payments to be made only in the form of digital currency, most commonly in Bitcoin.

According to the complaint, Babadjov accepted orders for heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine on AlphaBay, and then mailed the narcotics from a post office in San Francisco to customers throughout the United States. Babadjov received payment for the narcotics in Bitcoin. On October 20, 2016, law enforcement made an undercover purchase of heroin from “Blime-Sub,” which was delivered to a post office box in the Eastern District of California. The parcel contained a mixture of fentanyl and heroin.

This case is a product of an investigation by the Central California Darknet Strike Force, an inter-agency task force dedicated to combating the use of dark web marketplaces and digital currency to distribute narcotics and launder money. The lead agency on this case was the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Ross Pearson are prosecuting the case.

Additionally, this case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

If convicted, Babadjov faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated December 15, 2016

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 1:16-cr-204-LJO