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Press Release

Father And Son Plead Guilty To Selling Fentanyl And Oxycodone On The Dark Web

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
The Defendants Also Admitted to Substantially Contributing to a Non-Fatal Fentanyl Overdose in 2015

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL LUCIANO and PHILIP LUCIANO, a father and son, pled guilty today to selling fentanyl and oxycodone over the “dark web,” including on AlphaBay.  Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is significantly more potent than heroin, and is a major contributor to overdose fatalities.  The defendants also admitted to selling fentanyl that substantially contributed to a victim’s non-fatal overdose in 2015.  MICHAEL LUCIANO and PHILIP LUCIANO pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, and were remanded into federal custody.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The defendants’ fentanyl contributed to a victim’s overdose, which fortunately, the victim survived.  Subsequently, the defendants used the dark web – a place where some criminals think they can hide – to sell fentanyl and oxycodone, two highly addictive and potentially lethal opioids.  I commend our partners at HSI for bringing this father-son duo’s misconduct out of the dark.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint and the Indictment to which the defendants pled guilty, as well as statements made in court:

From at least in or about January 2015 through July 2017, MICHAEL LUCIANO and PHILIP LUCIANO conspired to distribute fentanyl, butyryl fentanyl (a fentanyl analogue), and oxycodone.  They sold these narcotics both in person and – from at least February 2016 through July 2017 – over the dark web.  In March 2015, the LUCIANOs sold fentanyl to a repeat customer who overdosed, was administered naloxone, taken to the hospital, and survived.  The overdose victim sent text messages to PHILIP LUCIANO from the hospital, stating, “I called you / Your dad at the house and saw him / I got back home and shot some.  I thought it might have been too much, especially considering my last dose of sub was Saturday.  I became unresponsive and my friend called an ambulance.  They gave me narcan and I’m at the hospital now / Can I settle up and get 60 more tomorrow?”  PHILIP LUCIANO replied, “Give me a call when u can.” 

Despite this overdose in 2015, the LUCIANOs continued to sell drugs, including over the darkweb in 2016 and 2017.  On AlphaBay, they sold narcotics using the vendor name “Zane61.”  AlphaBay customers repeatedly provided positive feedback on fentanyl and oxycodone they purchased from Zane61.  One of the LUCIANOs’ AlphaBay customers wrote, for example:  “Great stealth, fast shipping, legit product. Perfect 10/10.”  During a confession in July 2017, MICHAEL LUCIANO told HSI agents, among other things, that PHILIP LUCIANO had handled the technological aspects of their drug transactions over the darkweb, PHILIP had reported to MICHAEL drug orders they had received online, and MICHAEL had shipped the narcotics, via the United States Postal Service, to the LUCIANOs’ customers.

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MICHAEL LUCIANO, 59, and PHILIP LUCIANO, 30, both of Staten Island, each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute three controlled substances – fentanyl, butyryl fentanyl (a fentanyl analogue), and oxycodone.  This charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the judge.  Sentencing has been scheduled for November 8, 2018, before United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

Mr. Berman praised HSI for its outstanding work on the investigation.  Mr. Berman also thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the New York City Police Department for their valuable assistance in this investigation.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael D. Neff is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated August 8, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-270