Another drug dealer pleaded guilty to his role in a “highly sophisticated” darkweb drug trafficking operation.
Allante Pires, 25, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute MDMA, Ketamine, and Alprazolam. Pires and co-conspirators Binh Thanh Le and Steven McCall were accused of selling drugs on darkweb markets using the “EastSideHigh” vendor identity.
Court documents detail an extensive investigation into EastSideHigh. As a part of the case, federal law enforcement officers intercepted packages, conducted constant electronic and physical surveillance, communicated with EastSideHigh in an undercover capacity, and purchased drugs from the vendor on several marketplaces.
Federal investigators, including postal inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), launched an investigation into EastSideHigh in June 2018. The law enforcement officers investigating the vendor conducted multiple controlled purchases from EastSideHigh on Dream Market. These purchases ultimately resulted in the identification of the defendants.
After identifying the defendants, investigators conducted physical surveillance and placed GPS tracking devices on vehicles owned by the defendants. Customs had intercepted packages of pill binders that suppliers had shipped to addresses frequented by the trio. Le had registered a business with the name “BL Productions” (Binh Le) using the address of an office space in Stoughton, Massachusetts. State police recovered trash at the locations frequented by the defendants and found drug residue on packages, materials used in drug manufacturing, and empty mailers that someone had shipped to the Stoughton address. Some of the open mailers listed a fake name as the recipient. Customs had seized packages of LSD, MDMA, and Xanax pills that international suppliers had shipped to the Stoughton address with the same fake name as the packages recovered from the trash.
Investigators observed all three defendants frequently carrying packages to and from the Stoughton address.
In February 2019, an undercover Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent notified Postal Inspector Gina Gentiluomo that EastSideHigh wanted to exchange Bitcoin for cash. The HSI agent communicated with EastSideHigh through a secure messaging application about the exchange. Inspector Gentiluomo then contacted the vendor, posing as the money launderer.
In March 2019, Inspector Gentiluomo and another postal inspector (UC) met with Le at a hotel. The parties agreed to exchange $200,000 in Bitcoin in a wired hotel room. After Le had sent the Bitcoin to the address provided by the feds, the second postal inspector pretended to be having problems with his cellphone. He asked Le to open the wallet application on his phone and verify that the transaction had been completed. Le handed his unlocked phone to the postal inspector. After the postal inspector had possession of Le’s phone, postal inspectors and state police entered the room and detained Le.
After being advised of his rights per Miranda, Le voluntarily provided law enforcement officers with his password.
After detaining Le, other officers approached Pires’ Mercedes, which was still in the hotel’s parking lot. They detained Pires and asked him about the keys on his key ring. Pires identified one as the key to the office space in Stoughton. Other law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the office space where they encountered McCall wearing a respirator.
Inside the office space, the police found 11 pounds of ketamine, 5,000 grams of ecstasy pills, packaging materials, two digital scales, two heat-sealing devices, a pill press, and $114,700 in cash. They also found a laptop with the EastSideHigh profile on Wallstreet Market on the screen. The police seized 18 kilograms of MDMA and more than $200,000 in Bitcoin by the end of the investigation.
Le pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute MDMA, Ketamine, and Alprazolam. On March 10, 2022, a judge sentenced Le to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release. The judge ordered Le to forfeit more than 59 Bitcoin, $114,680 in cash, the proceeds from a 2018 BMW M3 sale, a pill press, and a currency counter.
McCall has a plea hearing scheduled for June 28, 2022.
In the criminal complaint, Inspector Gentiluomo points to the existence of a “music” video on YouTube titled “MTS – ALL FOR THE GANG.” The video, uploaded by MTS Entertainment on January 3, 2019, contains “various individuals of interest to law enforcement.” Gentiluomo learned about the video on January 11, 2019. Part of the video was filmed at the office space in Stoughton. A pill press is visible in the background of the scenes filmed in the office space. The postal inspector wrote that the bag beside the pill press contained powder.