On May 18, in New York, Rui-Siang Lin, the suspected owner and operator of the dark web marketplace Incognito, was arrested. This platform, which specialized in illegal substances, had been operational since October 2020 and was shut down by law enforcement on March 23, 2024. Lin, also known as Pharoah, controlled all activities on Incognito, including managing staff and transactions.

Operations and Shutdown

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that Incognito facilitated over $100 million in drug sales, including significant amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, amphetamine, and ecstasy. Authorities believe Lin had full control over more than 1,000 sellers, over 200,000 customers, and at least one assistant managing the site. Payments were made using cryptocurrency through a platform referred to as “Incognito Bank.”

Law Enforcement Actions

In July 2022 and August 2023, law enforcement obtained search warrants that led to the discovery of three servers used by Incognito. These servers contained extensive data on transactions, sellers, and customers. Investigators found that the marketplace earned $83,624,577, with Lin allegedly receiving $4,181,228 as his five percent commission.

Extortion Attempt

In March 2024, Lin abruptly shut down Incognito, refused to return funds to sellers and buyers, and threatened to release transaction histories unless paid a ransom. Law enforcement highlighted that Lin’s greed and disregard for others were evident in this extortion attempt.

Potential Sentences

If convicted, Lin faces severe penalties, including mandatory minimum life imprisonment for operating a criminal enterprise, life imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute drugs, up to 20 years for money laundering, and up to 5 years for conspiracy to sell misbranded substances.

Sarah Cone

By Sarah Cone

Sarah Shadow is a skilled journalist and writer with a keen eye for detail. She has spent the last 5 years specializing in news about darknet markets and activity within the Tor network. With her extensive knowledge and expertise, Sarah is able to uncover even the most hidden secrets of the digital underground. Despite her serious profession, Sarah has a playful side and enjoys solving puzzles and brain teasers in her free time. Sarah's twitter: https://twitter.com/pollyplummer