On July 5, federal agents arrested “Narcoboss,” an Alphabay fentanyl vendor from SouthWest Philadelphia. The vendor “was a top-10 target,” according to a Department of Homeland Security Investigations agent. Koffie faces drug trafficking charges and charges associated with distributing a controlled substance resulting in death.
Special Agent Eric J. Yingling filed the Criminal Complaint affidavit and application for an arrest warrant. The Criminal Complaint detailed the steps that law enforcement took in order to arrest Koffie. SA Yingling worked at the Opioid Task Force in the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI, but explained that many law enforcement agencies played a role in the takedown—some completely independent of other investigations.
Early this year, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and FBI investigated a fentanyl vendor from the Philadelphia area. During the month of May, USPIS special agents made several undercover purchases from the vendor on Alphabay. They ordered different quantities of the product “China white synthetic heroin fentanyl mix.” As expected, after USPIS purchased enough packages, federal agents successfully profiled Koffie. Or started a profile; they knew that he shipped from a certain area in Philadelphia.
Investigators ordered Priority Mail Express shipping and tracked the packages. Once they arrived, the agents transported the packages to a USPIS office where they conducted forensic procedures. In one example, the agent wrote, “the white envelope was opened and found to contain a clear zipper plastic bag. The plastic bag was found to contain approximately 10 grams of a fine white powder.” Laboratory analysis concluded that the white powder was furanyl fentanyl. This process was repeated several times.
The feds established a connection between two different vendor profiles and identities. DNMKingpin and NarcoBoss. DNMKingpin, the agent wrote:
- used a booking photo of Joaquin Chapo Guzman as his Alphabay profile photo;
- sold fentanyl at the same price—40 dollars per gram;
- used an outdated version of GnuPG key for the Alphabay public keys.
In June 2016, DNMKingpin was banned from selling on Alphabay. Within two weeks, a vendor named Narcoboss appeared, the complaint explained. Narcoboss, according the criminal complaint:
- used the same booking photo of El Chapo as his Alphabay profile picture;
- used the identical version of GnuPG key that DNMKingpin had also used;
- sold grams of fentanyl at 40 dollars per gram.
“Moreover, both NarcoBoss and DNMKingpin shipped from the Philadelphia, PA area,” the agent added.
Koffie garnered a little extra attention on June 10 after the New York Times wrote a story titled “Opioid Dealers Embrace the Dark Web to Send Deadly Drugs by Mail.” Narcoboss, along with other fentanyl vendors—both active and busted—such as Owlcity or Fentmaster.
United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) identified packages coming from a clearnet lab in China. The packages contained fentanyl and other controlled substances. HSI notified the USPIS and FBI on the East Coast of this development. HSI investigated an overdose in Portland. They compared the return address on a package from Narcoboss with the handwriting on Koffie’s passport and concluded that Koffie and Narcoboss were one in the same.
CBP seized packages headed for Koffie’s address in Philadelphia. “On May 18, 2017, one of the parcels shipped by [the shipping, and manifested as “COMMERCIAL SAMPLE” weighing 0.345kg was seized by CBP. The initial exam revealed a powdery substance, consistent with fentanyl. The powder is currently at the CBP lab awaiting analysis results. The other parcel was delivered.”
Agents reviewed Koffie’s social media accounts and found Koffie’s trips, often coincided with a period of time when Narcoboss was unable to accept new darknet market orders. Additionally, the suspect’s Coinbase account, although shutdown by Coinbase for receiving payments from Alphabay, revealed Koffie’s income.
The information provided by Coinbase:
“A review of all financial data during the life of the Coinbase account showed that it had transacted a total of 341.7792077 bitcoin (btc ). These transactions consisted of the account receiving 289.7967607btc and sending 51. 98244699 btc to external bitcoin addresses. Coinbase reported that KOFFIE had purchased 3.15583052 BTC which, at the time of purchase, had the USD equivalent of $760 and that KOFFIE sold 240.9701443 BTC. KOFFIE received $127,282.77 from the 240.9701443 BTC that he sold, which was subsequently wired into a TD Bank account ending in x2546 and a Greendot Bank account ending in x3300.”
Law enforcement raided Koffie on July 5. They found 0.5 kilograms of fentanyl in his house, along with scales, bags, and similar objects. They also found pill binder material and bank statements. He was charged with federal drug trafficking charges and will be shipped off to Oregon to face charges connected to fatal overdoses by his product.