“Incognito Market” Owner Arrested for Operating Major Illegal Online Narcotics Marketplace

Incognito Website Drugs

Rui-Siang Lin, known as “Pharoah,” was arrested for running “Incognito Market,” one of the largest dark web narcotics marketplaces.

The platform facilitated over $100 million in illegal drug sales worldwide. Lin was apprehended at John F. Kennedy Airport on May 18 and will appear before a federal judge in Manhattan.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland emphasized the reach of law enforcement into the dark web, stating that Lin’s operation was a $100 million scheme trafficking drugs globally. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York highlighted Lin’s sophisticated and dangerous enterprise, affirming that dark web criminals would be pursued as vigorously as those on street corners.

Lin, under the pseudonym “Pharoah,” managed all aspects of Incognito Market, which sold various illegal narcotics, including cocaine and methamphetamines, since its inception in October 2020 until its shutdown in March 2024.

An example of listings on Incognito market is below:

The platform mimicked legitimate e-commerce sites, offering branding, advertising, and customer service to facilitate drug transactions. Users accessed the market via the Tor browser, ensuring anonymity.

The investigation revealed that Incognito Market’s listings included mislabeled prescription drugs.

Undercover agents purchased oxycodone that tested as fentanyl. Vendors on the platform paid a 5% commission to Incognito Market, funding its operations and Lin’s profits, facilitated through the site’s internal cryptocurrency “bank.”

Assistant Director James Smith of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo of HSI New York, and other law enforcement leaders emphasized their commitment to dismantling such dangerous online operations.

They noted Lin’s recklessness in prioritizing profit over public safety, particularly given the sale of mislabeled and deadly substances.

If convicted, Lin faces severe penalties, including life imprisonment for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, narcotics conspiracy, money laundering, and conspiracy to sell adulterated and misbranded medication.

The case was investigated by the FBI, HSI, DEA, FDA-OCI, and NYPD.