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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top “Silk Road” Distributor Of Drugs And Bitcoins Charged In Tampa

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the filing of an information charging Angel William Quinones (34, Largo) with conspiracy to import MDMA, a/k/a Ecstasy or “Molly,” into the United States. A plea agreement was also filed in United States District Court in Tampa. Quinones faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, from at least August 2012 through October 2013, Quinones used the underground website known as “Silk Road” as part of a conspiracy to import at least 9,193 grams of MDMA into the Middle District of Florida, for further distribution in the United States. From January 2011, until it was shut down by law enforcement in October 2013, Silk Road was dedicated to the sale of illegal drugs and other illicit, black market goods and services using the digital currency Bitcoin. The website was also designed to facilitate illegal commerce by ensuring anonymity among its users. Quinones was one of the largest wholesale re-distributors of illegal drugs from Silk Road in the United States.

Operating out of Largo, Florida, Quinones used the usernames “UnderGroundSyndicate” and “BTCmaster” to advertise, market, and sell illegal drugs on Silk Road. In operating the UnderGroundSyndicate and BTCmaster accounts, he obtained his MDMA principally from a Dutch supplier named Cornelis Jan Slomp (22).  Slomp’s Silk Road username was “SuperTrips”.  According to records obtained from the Silk Road servers, Slomp was the number one distributor of controlled substances, by sales, on the website. On April 24, 2014, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced that Slomp had been charged with conspiracy to distribute various controlled substances through Silk Road, including approximately 104 kilograms of MDMA, 566,000 ecstasy pills containing MDMA, four kilograms of cocaine, three kilograms of Benzodiazepine, and substantial quantities of amphetamine, LSD, and marijuana. Slomp pleaded guilty on May 8, 2014.

Quinones used the “UnderGroundSyndicate” and “BTCmaster” accounts to communicate with Slomp. In August 2012, Quinones entered into an arrangement with Slomp, whereby Slomp would provide him with wholesale quantities of MDMA on credit.  Quinones, in turn, would sell the substances to his own customers via Silk Road and then split the proceeds with Slomp.  Thereafter, Slomp shipped the MDMA into the Tampa area. After obtaining the MDMA, Quinones distributed the MDMA to customers throughout the United States. Quinones obtained several Post Office boxes in Pinellas County, which he used to ship and receive MDMA and proceeds. Slomp also provided Quinones with his unique logon information to the SuperTrips account and paid him to review and reply to messages sent to Slomp by customers on Silk Road.

Additionally, Slomp sent Quinones Bitcoins generated from Silk Road drug transactions to be converted into cash. Slomp also agreed that Quinones would hold on to a portion of the proceeds that Quinones had generated for Slomp, until Slomp was ready to retrieve them. In August 2013, Slomp was arrested after traveling from the Netherlands, to Miami, in order to meet with Quinones and transfer Slomp’s United States-based Silk Road operations, including his United States customers, to Quinones. 

On October 2, 2013, with assistance from agencies in Chicago, federal agents executed a search warrant at Quinones’ home in Largo. During the search, agents found approximately $157,580 in cash, documents and keys associated with Post Office boxes used by the UnderGroundSyndicate and BTCmaster accounts, and various electronic media. Forensic analysis of that electronic media later uncovered spreadsheets and other documents authored by Quinones, which were associated with the UnderGroundSyndicate and BTCmaster accounts, including Silk Road customer orders and tracking information for parcels containing MDMA and drug proceeds.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.

Updated January 26, 2015