A US man pleaded guilty on Thursday, Apr. 6 to 12 charges related to distributing various opiates while operating as a vendor on the former Empire darknet market. Chaloner Saintillus, 35, of Delray Beach, Florida, admitted to selling fentanyl, carfentanyl, oxycodone and oxymorphone via the vendor name chlnsaint on Empire from Aug. 2019 to Aug 2020, when the market went offline.
Saintillus completed over 1,100 sales on the market as chlnsaint, ending his career there with a 98% positive feedback rate. According to information on the Dread darknet forum, he also had listings for Xanax on Empire and operated on DarkMarket before being banned for listing fentanyl, which was a prohibited substance according to the rules of the market.
Between Apr. and Oct. 2020, an interagency task force in California made 12 controlled purchases from chlnsaint, identifying Saintillus as the man behind the vendor name through “physical surveillance” and “analysis of financial, package tracking and photographic records” with the help of the US Postal Inspection Service. Agents also conducted surveillance of Saintillus at home in Florida, identifying him as mailing a parcel there that was later found to contain fentanyl.
Warning posted to Dread in Nov. 2020 following the arrest of Saintillus.
In Oct 2020, law enforcement agents executed a search warrant of Saintillus’ residence in Florida, discovering “large quantities of narcotics,” which included fentanyl, along with a loaded handgun, more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition in a suitcase, and a cryptocurrency wallet containing $25,000 in XRP. He was indicted on charges the following month.
Saintillus also used chlnsaint as a Twitter handle in 2011, listing his full name there as well. He was charged with inciting a riot at a professional basketball game in 2013. With sentencing scheduled on July 10, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $12 million in fines.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy Task Force, FBI, DEA, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security, as well as a Florida-based sheriff’s office and police department.