Science and Technology News

Friday, June 14, 2019

O.C. Man Who Was a Top Seller of Narcotics on One of Darknet’s Biggest Marketplaces Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison


          LOS ANGELES – An Irvine resident who sold narcotics on one of the darknet’s largest marketplaces has been sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for illegally distributing drugs.

          Tyler Reeves, 29, who sold narcotics under the moniker “Platinum45,” was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge James V. Selna. In addition to the 10-year prison term, Judge Selna ordered Reeves to pay a $15,000 fine.

          The 10-year sentence resulted from Reeves pleading guilty in March to distributing methamphetamine and money laundering.

          From mid-2017 until September 2018, Reeves illegally sold narcotics – including prescription painkillers, stimulants and sedatives, as well as methamphetamine – on the dark web marketplace that was known as Wall Street Market, a now-defunct online bazaar that was operated by three German nationals who currently face charges in the United States and in Germany.

          Reeves – who was one of the top five vendors on Wall Street Market – sold narcotics to nearly 300 customers around the globe and offered to sell as much as a kilogram of methamphetamine. Reeves’ customers included undercover law enforcement officers, who made six purchases from Platinum45, including one transaction in which Reeves shipped two ounces of methamphetamine in exchange for $2,230 in virtual currency, a sale that forms the basis of the first charge he admitted.

          The money laundering charge stems from Reeves accepting Bitcoin as payment and converting that cryptocurrency into fiat U.S. money.

          “On September 20, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at defendant’s residence. At his residence, [Reeves] possessed not only illegal controlled substances, such as methamphetamine and oxycodone (prescribed to defendant), but he also possessed 13 un-serialized firearms, and 14 un-serialized silencers, which are used to suppress the sound of a gunshot,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “Defendant purchased the parts for these firearms online and manufactured these silencers and firearms. In addition to the drugs and firearms, defendant possessed extensive computing equipment, a Trezor hardware wallet (used for storing cryptocurrency), and gold and silver bars.”

          This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and IRS – Criminal Investigation. The Irvine Police Department provided assistance.

          The case against Reeves was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan White, Chief of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section, and Puneet Kakkar of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Criminal Justice Technology in the News


Law Enforcement News

Drowning Is One of the Hardest Homicides to Prove. These Investigators Want to Change That.
NBC News, (06/08/2019), Cara Tabachnick
This article takes an in-depth look at how drowning investigations often miss the possibility of homicide, and at changes in training and techniques that aim to prevent that from happening. It uses the investigation into a case in Mt. Zion, Ill., as a framework.
Link to Article


Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center to Start New Basic Training Format
KSN.com, (06/10/2019), Tiffany Lane
In an effort to make it easier for departments to hire trained officers, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center is switching to starting classes more frequently and reducing class size. The goal behind the changes is to reduce the waiting time to gain entrance to the academy, which had been a year or longer.
Link to Article


All Hillsborough Deputies Will Learn How to De-escalate a Mental Health Crisis
Tampa Bay Times, (06/11/2019), Tony Marrero
At the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office, a 40-hour crisis intervention training program has become mandatory for all 2,400 sworn deputies. The previously voluntary training also will be updated by local mental health practitioners.
Link to Article


Corrections News

Yoga Instruction Brings Physical and Mental Health Benefits to Idaho Prisons
Boise State Public Radio (06/06/20199, Gemma Gaudette
This audio piece profiles the work of yoga therapist Kaelyn Rogers with inmates in the Idaho Department of Corrections. Rogers created the program with a goal of using her yoga skills to benefit the community.
Link to Article


Iowa Prison Program Using Dogs to Rehabilitate Inmates
The Hour, (06/08/2019)
The Fully Rescue Educational Development Program at Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility in Iowa pairs inmates with dogs deemed unadoptable due to problem behaviors. The dogs, from the PAW Animal Shelter in Fort Madison, stay with their handlers in the institution as they are trained to make them candidates more suited to adoption.
Link to Article


Always Faithful: Staff Supports Colleagues Deployed Overseas
Corrections.com, (06/10/2019), John Cokos, New Jersey Department of Corrections
Operation Blue for Green, an unofficial program and social media group created and supported by New Jersey Department of Corrections employees, assembles and delivers care packages and letters for NJDOC employees deployed overseas with various military reserve units. The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 105 also provides assistance with shipping costs.
Link to Article

Register Now for Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Forum


The Forensic Technology Center of Excellence will assist the National Institute of Justice in hosting the free National Opioid and Emerging Drug Threats Policy and Practice Forum on July 18-19, 2019, at the Marriott Metro Center in Washington, D.C. 

The forum will build off the momentum of widespread stakeholder meetings convened to discuss drug threats and consequences of this national epidemic on the public safety response. It will disseminate topics at a policy level and pay particular attention to addressing best practices for forensic laboratories. For more information and to register, visit https://forensiccoe.org/workshop/emerging-drug-opioid-forum-2019/.