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Colorado man sentenced for moderating dark web marketplace

AURORA, Colo. — A Colorado man was sentenced to federal prison for serving as a moderator on a global dark web marketplace that peddled guns, drugs and stolen identities.

Bryan Herrell, 26, of Aurora was sentenced to 11 years by a U.S. District Court Judge in California Tuesday for his role in operating AlphaBay, The Sentinel reports.

The U.S. Department of Justice said the now-shuttered online bazaar operated on the Tor network and became the most expansive internet market for drug sales. AlphaBay launched one year after the FBI shut down the similar Silk Road network.

Herrell used the online monikers Penissmith and Botah to referee arguments between sellers and buyers and watch for scams, federal officials said.

The site required users to employ various cryptocurrencies for payment, including Monero, Ethereum and Bitcoin. AlphaBay operators also provided “tumbling” and “mixing” services to blur the digital money trail.

Herrell received compensation in Bitcoin, court documents said.

Alexandre Cazes, who was believed to be the founder of AlphaBay, was indicted more than three years ago in California. Cazes was reportedly found dead in a jail cell in Thailand less than two weeks after he was arrested at his home in Bangkok.

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