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One man exposes dot-com of drug dealing, weapons trade and stolen identities

One man exposes dot-com of drug dealing, weapons trade and stolen identities

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - One southern Colorado man exposed a dot-com that serves as a virtual black market because he said he wants the site taken down.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 has decided not to name the site or information about how it access it.

Shoppers on the site can scroll through thousands of products in dozens of categories. Shoppers pick the product and add it to their virtual shopping cart. Categories include illegal drugs, weapons, and stolen identities.

"If you want it, you can get it. Ecstasy, herin, cocaine, pretty much everything," said the man who came forward about the website.

The man who came forward about the site wants to stay anonymous because of the dangers of exposing this website.  KRDO NewsChannel 13 changed the man's name to John. He said he could be killed if vendors on the site found out.

"We're talking about disrupting drug dealers," said John.

The program used to get into the deep web routes users through hundreds of servers across the world. John was introduced to the site through a friend. He downloaded a program to get into the internet anonymously.  He created a username for the site and he was in.

When asked if it was hard to access, John said, "no."

"The dark web, if you're not prepared for it, is very corrupting," said John.

One vendor on the site promises to deliver 3.5 grams of meth to any address in the U.S. in six days. Shoppers rate the product and the vendor. It has a similar interface to large online shopping websites.

John said he has never ordered anything. He wants the site shut down.

"I think places like (the website) are contributing to America's drug problem and making us lose the war on drugs because it makes it that much easier," said John.

The FBI arrested the site's creator and pulled it down in October. A new version was up and running in less than five weeks. Last week, the site's operators pulled it down temporarily to fix a security flaw. A message on the site promises to get it up and running as soon as possible.

Lt. Mark Comte works in the vice and narcotics unit for El Paso and Teller counties. He said people in southern Colorado may be ordering from the site, but his unit can't stop them.

"Very resource intensive, very expensive, local agencies like us just don't have the necessary skills or the money to do something like that," said Comte.

Comte said it took years for international law enforcement and the FBI to figure out who was responsible for the site's creation. Even if the site is shut down, others will start up to fill its place.

"It's just another mechanism to meet a demand," said Comte. "Technology, with all the good it's brought, it's also brought a lot of bad with it and this is just an example of that."

People on the site pay for products with bitcoins. Bitcoins are an anonymous currency. It means law enforcement cannot trace buyers and sellers using credit card or debit card information.

The site's creator faces charges of narcotics trafficking, conspiracy, computer hacking and money laundering. He plead not guilty to all those charges in a federal court in New York on Feb. 7.

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