The Farmer's Market

Last updated
The Farmer's Market
Screenshot of a section of The Farmer's Market
Type of site
Darknet market
Launchedc. 2006
Current statusInactive

The Farmer's Market, formerly Adamflowers, was an online black market for illegal drugs. It was founded by Marc Peter Willems in or before 2006, and moved operations to the dark web in 2010 using the Tor anonymity network. It was closed and several operators and users arrested in April 2012 as a result of Operation Adam Bomb, a two-year investigation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).


Drug market

The online black marketplace was launched in or before 2006 by Marc Peter Willems as Adamflowers. [1] [2] [3] The site connected buyers and sellers and mediated transactions of illicit substances through extensive use of Hushmail, an encrypted email service promoted as private and anonymous. [1] [2] It moved operations to a hidden site on the Tor network in 2010 and changed its name to The Farmer's Market. At the same time, it greatly expanded its services to offer not just a venue for transactions, but also customer service features more common to traditional eCommerce, such as guaranteed shipment and merchant screening. [1] [4] Ars Technica described it as "like an Amazon for consumers of controlled substances." [5]

The Farmer's Market generated revenue through commissions based on the size of each purchase. The site allowed for several forms of payment including cash, PayPal, Western Union, Pecunix, and I-Golder. It managed all communications between buyers and sellers, and blurred the path between them by adding intermediaries known as "cash drops" who were paid a fee to receive payment from customers and forward it in another payment form to one of multiple bank accounts. The intermediaries and bank accounts were located in places like Panama or Budapest. [6] [7] [8] According to DEA estimates, the site processed about $1 million between 2007 and 2009, and in 2011 the owners made $261,000 through PayPal alone. [2] [4] [5] [9] [10] By 2012, about $2.5 million had been transferred through the site in total. [8]

Among the drugs sold at the site were LSD, MDMA, mescaline, fentanyl, ketamine, DMT, hashish, psilocybin and marijuana, some of which carry substance-specific criminal penalties, depending on the country. [4] [9] [11]

An estimated 3000 people in all 50 U.S. states and 45 other countries made transactions, many under age 21. [8]

Operation Adam Bomb

Over the course of two years the DEA conducted an investigation of The Farmer's Market in cooperation with local U.S. state and international authorities in the Netherlands, Colombia, and Scotland. The investigation used the codename Operation Adam Bomb, after the original name of the site, Adamflowers. [1] [9]

In March 2009, a DEA agent who gained access to the site successfully purchased 25 hits of LSD, sending money to Budapest and receiving the drugs in Los Angeles. He repeated the process with a larger order of 500 hits in September 2009. [12] [13] [8] A 2012 indictment contained evidence in the form of hundreds of incriminating emails from 2006 to 2010. [7] The undercover officer who had purchased LSD was party to several of the included emails. The indictment also indicated cooperation by the U.S. Postal Service and included as evidence that particular defendants had received envelopes at a post office box. [7]

An email in the indictment described Hushmail, which the site used extensively, as "an encrypted and safe method of communication [which] would not produce e-mails to law enforcement officers." [7] Though Hushmail's complicity with police was not made explicit in the indictment, Wired , Forbes , and the Tor blog suggested it would be likely given previous privacy concerns about the site. [2] [6] [14] [15] [16] [17]

The investigation culminated in the April 2012 arrest of fifteen people in the United States, Netherlands, and Colombia. [8] Eight of the individuals were identified as connected to the site and seven individuals were left unnamed, likely site users. [9] The law enforcement agency's 66-page, 12-count indictment named lead defendant Marc Peter Willems of the Netherlands and Michael Evron, an American citizen staying in Buenos Aires, as the two who functioned as "organizer, supervisor, and manager" of the site. [2] [12] [18] Willems was extradited from the Netherlands after a two-year legal challenge to his extradition. [8]

Willems and Evron were charged with "participating in a continuing criminal enterprise," five of the eight arrested were charged with distributing LSD in particular, and all eight with money laundering and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. [1] [7] [18] [19]

In September 2014, the 45-year-old Willems pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering. He confessed, in a Los Angeles Federal court, to making a profit from the trade of illegal drugs. [8]

By the end of 2014, seven of the eight people indicted had entered guilty pleas. The eighth died before the trial began. [20] In September 2014, Willems pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering charges, and was given a 10-year prison sentence that December. [21] [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Cali Cartel Former Colombian drug cartel

The Cali Cartel was a drug cartel based in southern Colombia, around the city of Cali and the Valle del Cauca Department. Its founders were the brothers Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela and Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, and José Santacruz Londoño. They broke away from Pablo Escobar and his Medellín associates in the late 1980s, when Hélmer "Pacho" Herrera joined what became a four-man executive board that ran the cartel.

Operation Greenback was a Miami, Florida-based, multi-agency U.S. government task force targeting money laundering connected to drug trafficking.

Sinaloa Cartel Organized crime syndicate

The Sinaloa Cartel, also known as the CDS, the Guzmán-Loera Organization, the Pacific Cartel, the Federation and the Blood Alliance, is a large international drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime syndicate established during the late 1980s. The cartel is primarily based in the city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, with operations in the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, Sonora, and Chihuahua. The "Federation" was partially splintered when the Beltrán-Leyva brothers broke apart from the Sinaloa Cartel. The United States Intelligence Community considers the Sinaloa Cartel to be one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, making it perhaps even more influential and capable than the infamous Medellín Cartel of Colombia during its prime in the 1980s and early 1990s. It has repeatedly been said to be one of the world's strongest criminal organizations and indisputably the most powerful in Mexico since at least the late 2000s and early 2010s by various sources including the Los Angeles Times.

Óscar Omar Treviño Morales is a convicted Mexican drug lord and former leader of Los Zetas, a criminal organization. He was one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords. His brother is Miguel Treviño Morales, a former leader of the group. The authorities believe he was the successor of his brother, who was arrested on July 15, 2013.

Benjamín Arellano Félix Mexican drug trafficker

Benjamín Arellano Félix is a former Mexican drug lord who alongside his brothers founded and led the Tijuana Cartel or "Arellano-Félix Organization” until his arrest in March 2002.

Silk Road (marketplace) 2011–2014 darknet market known for the sale of illegal drugs

Silk Road was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs. As part of the dark web, it was operated as a Tor hidden service, such that online users were able to browse it anonymously and securely without potential traffic monitoring. The website was launched in February 2011; development had begun six months prior. Initially there were a limited number of new seller accounts available; new sellers had to purchase an account in an auction. Later, a fixed fee was charged for each new seller account. Silk Road provided goods and services to over 100,000 buyers.

Backpage Former largest, online marketplace for buying and selling sex was a classified advertising website founded in 2004 by the alternative newspaper chain New Times Inc./New Times Media as a rival to

The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access. Through the dark web, private computer networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as a user's location. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines, although sometimes the term deep web is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web.

Ross Ulbricht American founder and administrator of darknet marketplace the Silk Road (born 1984)

Ross William Ulbricht is an American who created and operated the darknet market website Silk Road from 2011 until his arrest in 2013. The site used Tor for anonymity and bitcoin as a currency and facilitated the sale of narcotics and other illegal sales. Ulbricht's online pseudonym was "Dread Pirate Roberts" after the fictional character in the novel The Princess Bride and its film adaptation.

Operation Onymous International police operation targeting darknet markets

Operation Onymous was an international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other hidden services operating on the Tor network.

The Nine Trey Gangster Bloods or Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods (NTG) are a violent set of the United Blood Nation street gang, which is itself a set of the Bloods gang. The gang operates on the East Coast of the United States.


AlphaBay Market was an online darknet market which operated on an onion service of the Tor network. It was shut down after a law enforcement action as a part of Operation Bayonet against it in the United States, Canada, and Thailand, reported 13 July 2017. The alleged founder, Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen born on 19 October 1991, was found dead in his cell in Thailand several days after his arrest; suicide is suspected.

A darknet market is a commercial website on the dark web that operates via darknets such as Tor or I2P. They function primarily as black markets, selling or brokering transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other illicit goods as well as the sale of legal products. In December 2014, a study by Gareth Owen from the University of Portsmouth suggested the second most popular sites on Tor were darknet markets.

DeepDotWeb was a news site dedicated to events in and surrounding the dark web featuring interviews and reviews about darknet markets, Tor hidden services, privacy, bitcoin, and related news. The website was seized on May 7, 2019, during an investigation into the owners' affiliate marketing model, in which they received money for posting links to certain darknet markets. On which they were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. In March 2021 site administrator Tal Prihar pleaded guilty to his charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Grams is a discontinued search engine for Tor based darknet markets launched in April 2014, and closed in December 2017. The service allowed users to search multiple darknet markets for products like drugs and guns from a simple search interface, and also provided the capability for its users to hide their transactions through its bitcoin tumbler Helix.

Carding (fraud) Crime involving the trafficking of credit card data

Carding is a term describing the trafficking and unauthorized use of credit cards. The stolen credit cards or credit card numbers are then used to buy prepaid gift cards to cover up the tracks. Activities also encompass procurement of details, and money laundering techniques. Modern carding sites have been described as full-service commercial entities.

Dream Market Online black market

Dream Market was an online darknet market founded in late 2013. Dream Market operated on a hidden service of the Tor network, allowing online users to browse anonymously and securely while avoiding potential monitoring of traffic. The marketplace sold a variety of content, including drugs, stolen data, and counterfeit consumer goods, all using cryptocurrency. Dream provided an escrow service, with disputes handled by staff. The market also had accompanying forums, hosted on a different URL, where buyers, vendors, and other members of the community could interact.

Operation DRYER is a joint operation between the Spanish Civil Guard, Austrian police, and Europol working to shut down labs and organizations which produce designer drugs. Authorities seized over 4.5 million euros' worth of cryptocurrency, as well as 788,606 doses of LSD; these are the largest seizures of cryptocurrency and LSD in European history. The operation was revealed to the public on June 28, 2018.

Carlos Landín Martínez Mexican drug lord

Carlos Landín Martínez, also known as El Puma, is a Mexican former police chief and convicted drug lord. He was a high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal group based in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and worked as the second-in-command of the cartel in Reynosa from 2005 to 2007. Landín Martínez was a trusted enforcer of the kingpin Gregorio Sauceda Gamboa. Among his responsibilities included managing international drug trafficking shipments from Tamaulipas to Texas, collecting taxes from independent traffickers who operated in his turf, and managing money laundering operations. Landín Martínez was also a commander in the Tamaulipas State Police, where he headed the homicide task-force. According to a witness who testified against him in court, Landín Martínez worked for the Gulf Cartel while still employed by the state police.

United States v. Stumbo, was a Federal Court case in the Eastern District of California in which the 23 year old defendant, Tyler Stumbo, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids, which were at the time a Class III prohibited substance. This was a violation of Title 21 sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(D) and 846, and carried a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of Life in prison as well as a maximum fine of $250,000. The charges were filed by the DEA.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Schwartz, Mathew J. (17 April 2012). "Feds Bust 'Farmer's Market' for Online Drugs". Dark Reading. Information Week. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Zetter, Kim (16 April 2014). "8 Suspects Arrested in Online Drug Market Sting". Wired . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  3. Jablon, Robert (16 April 2012). "'Farmer's Market' International Online Drug Ring Busted, 15 Arrested". Huffington Post . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  4. 1 2 3 Farnham, Alan (2012-04-19). "Internet 'Cloaking Device': Why Crooks and Cops Both Love TOR". Good Morning America . American Broadcasting Company News. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  5. 1 2 Goodin, Dan (16 April 2012). "Feds shutter online narcotics store that used TOR to hide its tracks". Ars Technica . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Trip report, October FBI conference". The Tor Project, Inc. 16 December 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 "United States District Court for the Central District of California September 2011 Grand Jury (indictment)" (PDF). Wired. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Kim, Victoria (3 September 2014). "Dutch national pleads guilty to running online marketplace for drugs". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Couts, Andrew (17 April 2012). "Feds bust "Farmer's Market," an online illegal drug ring hidden by Tor". Digital Trends . Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  10. "US busts online drugs ring Farmer's Market". BBC. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  11. Whitcomb, Dan (16 April 2012). "U.S. busts global online drug market, arrests eight". Chicago Tribune . Reuters . Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  12. 1 2 "Creators and Operators of On-Line Narcotics Marketplace On The TOR Network Arrested On First Of Its Kind Federal Indictment Charging Drug Trafficking In 34 Countries And 50 States". United States Attorney's Office. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  13. Bowker, Art (14 November 2013). "Law Enforcement is on a Tor Offensive". SciTechConnect. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  14. Singel, Ryan (19 November 2007). "Hushmail to Warn users of Law Enforcement Backdoor". Wired . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  15. Singel, Ryan (11 July 2007). "Encrypted E-Mail Company Hushmail Spills to Feds". Wired . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  16. Greenberg, Andy (6 August 2012). "Black Market Drug Site 'Silk Road' Booming: $22 Million In Annual Sales". Forbes . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  17. Franklin, Oliver (7 February 2013). "Unravelling the dark web". GQ . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  18. 1 2 Vaas, Lisa (23 April 2012). "Tor-hidden online narcotics store, 'The Farmer's Market', brought down in multinational sting". Naked Security. Sophos . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  19. Kim, Victoria (16 April 2012). "Feds bust online drug market in international sting". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  20. "Creator Of On-line Drug Bazaar Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug, Money Laundering Charges For Distributing Narcotics Around The World". United States Attorney's Office. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  21. "Founder Of Online Drugs Marketplace Gets 10-Year Sentence In L.A." Santa Monica Mirror . 11 December 2014. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016.