Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

October 16, 2017

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7900

Dark Web Marketplace Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty

FRESNO, Calif. - Emil Vladimirov Babadjov, 32, a Bulgarian and U.S. dual-national formerly residing in San Francisco, California, pleaded guilty today to distributing controlled substances, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin announced.

According to court documents, Babadjov, using the vendor names “Blime-Sub” and “BTH-Overdose,” was a large-scale heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine distributor on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay. The reverse order of the word “Blime” is “Emil B.”  Dark web marketplaces are operated on computer networks designed to conceal the true Internet Protocol addresses of the computers accessing the network. Dark web marketplaces allow for payments to be made only in the form of digital currency, most commonly in Bitcoin.

Babadjov accepted orders for heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamines on AlphaBay, and then mailed the narcotics from a post office in San Francisco to customers throughout the United States. Babadjov received payment for the narcotics in Bitcoin.  On October 20, 2016, law enforcement officers made an undercover purchase of heroin from “Blime-Sub,” which was delivered to a post office box in the Eastern District of California. The parcel contained a mixture of fentanyl and heroin. Law enforcement agents were able to identify Babadjov’s fingerprints on the parcel. U.S. Post Office records also revealed that Babadjov purchased the postage for the parcel mailed to law enforcement. In the plea agreement, Babadjov admitted to distributing approximately 1,141 grams of heroin, 66 grams of fentanyl, and 510 grams of methamphetamine on AlphaBay. 

This case was a product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement (DEA), with assistance provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement'(ICE) Homeland Security (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal (IRS-CI), and the U.S. Postal Inspection (USPIS). Assistant United States Attorney Grant B. Rabenn is prosecuting the case.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

Babadjov is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on January 16, 2018. Babadjov faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Any sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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