It’s a drug conspiracy for the modern age: a three-person operation that manufactured cocaine, MDMA, Xanax and other drugs in a rented office in Massachusetts, sold the substances on the dark web using cryptocurrency, and mailed them to customers across the United States.
For his role in the complex drug trafficking operation, Allante Pires, a 25-year-old Brockton man, faced the consequences in federal court in Boston on Friday. He was ordered by Judge Rya W. Zobel to forfeit his 2013 Mercedes E sedan, serve 28 months in prison and undergo three years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The sentence came roughly three months after Pires pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges that federal prosecutors lodged against him and his partners in the drug trafficking operation, Binh Thanh Le and Steven McCall, both of whom are also from Brockton. All three men ran “EastSideHigh,” a vendor website on the Dark Network, more commonly known as the dark web., Their site advertised cocaine, MDMA, Ketamine and Xanax for sale, according to authorities.
Le, the 25-year-old ringleader of the operation, was already sentenced in federal court in March to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release. More interestingly, he was ordered to give up more than 59 units of the prominent Bitcoin cryptocurrency, a forfeiture that represents more than $1.1 million, as well as $114,680 in cash, $42,390 of which came from the sale of a 2018 BMW M3 and other items that he owned, including a pill press and currency counter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
McCall, 26, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy June 28, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 28, according to prosecutors.
The three men were indicted in June 2019 for their use of dark web markets to advertise various controlled substances for sale. As part of their operation, Le would order wholesale quantities of the illegal drugs mainly from sources in Canada and Europe. He, Pires and McCall would then process and manufacture the substances at an office space that Le rented in Stoughton. After receiving orders and payment via Bitcoin, the men would finally mail the drugs to customers throughout the U.S., authorities detailed.
The law enforcement operation organized to bust the drug trafficking ring, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted was “highly sophisticated,” was large, encompassing, on the federal level, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. At the state and local level, Massachusetts State Police and Brockton, Norwood and Stoughton police helped as well.
During the investigation, the various agencies involved seized more than 19 kilograms of MDMA, almost seven kilograms of Ketamine, nearly one kilogram of cocaine and more than 10,000 counterfeit Xanax pills. Investigators also recovered a computer with the “EastSideHigh” vendor page open, numerous packages containing MDMA and Ketamine, various shipping and packaging materials and a pill press from the three men’s Stoughton office.