On August 23, multiple federal agencies announced the arrests of Michael and Philip Luciano for fentanyl and oxycodone distribution on Alphabay, a defunct darknet marketplace. The father-son team sold on Alphabay under the name “Zane61,” the court documents revealed. From as early as February 2016, “Zane61” was a registered Alphabay account. The duo sold through the account until July 2017 when law enforcement finalized the Alphabay and Hansa takedown.
According to the announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, both men turned themselves in on the day the announcement had been made—August 23. Both received a single count of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and oxycodone, along with a single count of possession with intent to distribute the same drugs.
The investigation into the vendor went down as expected. That is, until an unexpected piece of evidence landed in the law enforcement’s lap. This particular evidence took the form of another Alphabay vendor duo: Theodore Vitaliy Khleborod and Ana Milena Barrero. Those two operated the Alphabay vendor account known as “PeterTheGreat” or “Peter The Great.” After a recent international investigation, law enforcement busted PeterTheGreat in South Carolina.
According to the Criminal Complaint filed in the Luciano case, PeterTheGreat kept printed computer records of marketplace transactions. On those printed lists, investigators found seven orders from Zane61. The purchases were for acryl fentanyl and 4f-iBF Maleate. (The latter being a lesser known fentanyl analog.) One of the addresses Zane61 provided PeterTheGreat with was their Staten Island home. And Zane61 gave the name “M. Luciano” as the package recipient.
On July 25, 2017, law enforcement officers raided the Luciano home. Michael Luciano, after hearing his Miranda Rights, agreed to speak to the police. He told them, for all intents and purposes, everything they needed to know in order to put both him and his son behind bars.
- He admitted that he and Philip had both sold fentanyl on Alphabay.
- The duo started buying fentanyl in 2015. However, back then, they only bought on the clearnet for $1,000 per 110 grams.
- That he, Michael, had gotten his son, Philip, into darknet distribution. He said that his son handled the darknet portion of the operation – and did so from his iPad.
- That Philip sent him (Michael) the shipping information to use when dropping packages off at the post office.
- And that he had no involvement in the oxycodone sales.
Michael’s son, Philip, refused to speak to the police. Despite this potential avoidance of self incrimination, the federal agents still pulled information from Philip. They swept the house and found several electronic devices, including an iPad that they believed belonged to Philip. They also found a cellphone that belonged to Philip—this much, he revealed to them. At one point, while investigators were still at his house, Philip began to leave. He picked up a cellphone to take outside. A federal agent spotted this and told Philip to leave his phone with the agents. As expected, Philip gave the phone back to the authorities.
The cellphone had numerous email addresses with “Philip.Luciano” as the full address. Another email address associated with his full name plus a series of numbers. The same goes for a dating app and and an account for an educational institution. The agent said that “based on his training, experience, and participation in the investigation, [he] believed that each of those accounts belonged to Philip Luciano.”
A search of the iPad revealed a “Note” with the Alphabay vendor account login. Additionally, the owner of the iPad had taken photos of fentanyl. The Homeland Security Investigations agent connected the iPad to Philip through his training and experience:
- The iPad “Notes” program had one note that went as follows: “Dad owes me $247.”
- The iPad had screenshots of exam grades for “Philip Luciano.”
- The same dating profile from the phone was also on the iPad.
- This goes on an on.
Both the fentanyl and oxycodone charges carry a five year minimum and a 40 year maximum.