Former Empire Vendor ‘TheCommission’ Pleads Guilty to Distribution Charges
Fallout from 2020’s Operation DisrupTor continues to make headlines as vendors caught in the multi-national sting are now entering plea agreements, going to trial, or getting ready for sentencing. The most recent exposed vendor to be named is 27-year-old California man Hunter Secrest, who sold a large variety of substances on the now-defunct Empire darknet market. Secrest pleaded guilty on Saturday to charges related to his time as a vendor and is now awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutors allege Secrest, along with his “associates,” completed over 800 orders under vendor name TheCommission between April and June 2020 on the market. Though the background of Secrest’s arrest was not expanded upon in court documents, investigators had been on to his Empire dealings within a month, and he was indicted on Jun 25, 2020.
At the time of his arrest, Secrest was found to be in possession of 752 grams of heroin, 600 grams of cocaine, 11 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 45 grams of morphine, 1.6 kilograms of substances containing fentanyl, 93 grams of substances containing methamphetamine, 285 grams of alprazolam, 277 grams of valium, and 35 grams of Adderall.
Operation DisrupTor was a coordinated effort by US and an assortment of international law enforcement agencies aimed to disrupt the flow of unregulated opioid and other drugs over the darknet. Over 170 vendors and their accomplices were arrested as a result of the operation, which also netted hundreds of thousands in cash and hundred of kilograms of various drugs meant for sale on the darknet.
Secrest will be sentenced on Mar 22, 2022. While he faces a maximum sentence of twenty years and a fine of $1 million, the government has said it will recommend a sentence on the low end to take into account the fact that he has pleaded guilty and is recognizant of his own errors in judgment.