Darknet News

Dream Vendor ‘CaliCartel’ Sentenced to 10 Years

A popular heroin and cocaine vendor from the now-defunct Dream darknet marketplace was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday, June 6. Ian Hoffman, 44, of California, had previously admitted to running various vendor accounts on different darknet markets, including CaliCartel and BuxomBrunette on Dream, Playground on Silk Road 3.1, and GambinoCrimeFamily on Wall Street Market.

Hoffman is estimated to have completed over 2,000 sales between Oct 2018 and Apr 2019, accruing an overall rating of 4.96 out of 5.0 on Dream, where he also sold methamphetamine, mushrooms, Adderall, and other drugs. After Dream announced its closure in Apr 2019, Hoffman briefly moved the bulk of his operation to other markets before being arrest the next month.

CaliCartel post to the Dread darknet forum, looking for a new market after Dream’s announced closure.

Undercover investigators began making purchases from CaliCartel on Dream in October 2018. The postage label on one of the packages received by investigators was determined to have come from an online postage vendor which was traced back to another California man associated with Hoffman named Gabriel Alva. Federal agents performed surveillance on Hoffman and his associate, watching them mail out dozens of packages suspected to contain drug orders.

In May 2019, federal agents served a search warrant at Hoffman’s home in Ventura County, California, where they found 7 kg of a cocaine-containing mixture, 2 kg of a heroin-containing mixture, and over 19 kg of a methamphetamine-containing mixture. They also confiscated two firearms, three boxes of ammo, a bullet-proof vest, and over $250,000 in cash.

Hoffman pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges in Oct 2021, while Alva pleaded guilty yesterday to drug conspiracy charges and possession of a firearm. Alva, who also ran his own vendor accounts on Dream and Silk Road, is set to be sentenced in September.

The cases against the vendors were coordinated by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE) Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from Homeland Security, DEA, IRS, and the FBI, as well as the US Postal Inspection Service.

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