This was not reportedly earlier when DarknetMarkets broke the story on the shutdown of the Black Hand French darknet marketplace and forum. Yet, it has been announced that the mastermind behind the dark web site was a 28-year-old mother of two with no criminal record. She will now be separated from her family for many years as she faces criminal charges of illegal weapon smuggling, narcotics distribution and falsified documents sale.
The youthful mom, whose real identity is yet to be ascertained originates from northern France, and was rounded up at her home in Armentieres, close to Lille, during a series of an organized police invasion throughout the country on June 12.
This is the first time a darknet administrator has been identified as a woman, and even a mother. This is not to suggest only men run dark web sites, as was the case when Alphabay and Hansa were shutdown, but this is definitely a first at the federal level. Like all experts in this field, like her predecessors, she used pseudonyms Anouchka and Hades, but lacked a general understanding of proper computer education according to the report.
According to an investigation carried out by the French police, she had no job, and had been living a conventional life, off the profits of her darknet site.
Three others were arrested with her, two of the Black Hand moderators together with the sales representative. Each of them have not been yet identified and are being held in Marseilles and Montpellier. Each of the four was indicted with the crime of being part of a criminal gang with the intention of breaking laws, which can lead to a maximum sentence of 120 months in jail.
The sales representative who ran the Black Hand site was the only suspect released on bail. The rest remain in custody awaiting trial. During the search by the French police, investigators were able to access Black Hand’s servers and retrieve lots of data, the official said.
The French police declared that the site had over 3,000 registered members who exchanged fentanyl, heroin, marijuana and opiate drugs and also false document as well as identity cards and occasionally guns.
The moderators had a diverse method of earning money with the site, the investigators said, as “they charged their member fees of 25-50 euro for registration as well as commissions of 2-5 percent on any deal,” sources reported. The transactions were all done in bitcoin.
Dealers likely paid a higher rate and fee.
The National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations (DNRED) officer said it was not easy to figure out how much money the site administrator earned, but he evaluated that Hades earned thousands of euro a year from the activity.
The young mother allegedly ran the site with another administrator who was not active in the Black Hand site for months leading up to the shut down. This co-administrator is not yet in custody.
According to the investigators, which had seen the messages sent by the woman, “she regularly insulted the people who criticized her.” They further said, “she had committed errors that permitted parts of her identity, like, the place where she resided, to become recognized.” Typically darknet vending provides a higher level of online anonymity but her negligence led to her demise.
The DNRED was asked, how they were able to track down the woman and the others arrested but the officers refused to specify how the French police tracked down those behind the Black Hand site.
No one else in connection to Black Hand, dealer nor buyer, have been arrested at this time. “We will continue to take an interest in the dealers,” asserted the officer leading the investigation.
The Black Hand’s previous members will be watching the investigation intently, expressed the DNRED officer, “[These dealers have the] right to be worried.” And one thing all federal agencies have been successful in doing, is bringing down buyers as soon as the dark web site itself is comprimised, as seen with the recent shutdown of Finnish darknet site Sipulikanava.
He additionally said Black Hand had been functioning since at least 2015, an impressively extended length of time by the standard of the dark web where “platforms are rarely volatile because lawbreakers regularly run off with the proceeds.”
With the case of this mother, this is definitely an unusual case, for any darket marketplace.