A Calgary, Canada resident who operated the darknet vendor account “Canadasunshine” for years is now facing a potential sentence of a decade in a U.S. prison, even after pleading guilty to one of several drug charges.
The suspect behind the alias “Canadasunshine” has been on law enforcement’s radar since 2016, but it wasn’t until January 2019 when he was ultimately arrested on charges of shipping fentanyl across the border, camouflaged in Pez-like candies and kids’ toys.
He now faces at least 10 years in a U.S. prison.
He’s not the first Canadian who has been taken to court in the U.S. for selling drugs on the dark web.
In recent years, United States criminal prosecutors are increasingly working to crack down on cross-border drug trafficking involving dark web dealers based in Canada.
This trend especially applies to fentanyl dealers, as the U.S. opioid crisis rages on both in courts and on the streets.
As recent cases have shown, more and more Canadians are facing prison time in the U.S. for darknet fentanyl deals.
More opioid seizures are also taking place at the Canadian border.
‘Canadasunshine’ Conducted Business from an Apartment
Christopher Bantli, currently at the age of 39, is the man who authorities believe is behind the “Canadasunshine” vendor account found on the dark web.
According to investigators, Bantli ran his business from his apartment in Calgary, Canada.
From the comfort of his residence, he made sales and prepared shipments of narcotics to travel across the Canadian border.
As a vendor, Canadasunshine was active on AlphaBay, one of the biggest dark web marketplaces before it was shut down by international authorities in 2017.
For promoting the goods he offered, Bantli used a non-encrypted website called Canadasunshinemart.com.
The site displayed advertisements for “World Famous Xanax Candies,” sold for $1.20 per milligram.
Bantli’s customers were able to pay for his services using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The ordered packages were sent out through Canadian and U.S. mail services.
After the police arrest, it was found Bantli also sold drugs on Silk Road, another major dark web marketplace. On Silk Road, he operated under a different name: “CalgaryDealer.”
The feedback sections in both of his profiles showed the number of transaction deals Bantli made over the years.
On AlphaBay, it was found that Canadasunshine completed a total of 131 sales of controlled substances.
From the separate account on Silk Road, CalgaryDealer completed more than 1,900 sales.
Additionally, it was stated that the Silk Road account was also used to buy and later resell drugs.
A Target Since 2016
Bantli’s activities were reportedly spotted by the Calgary Police Service back in 2016 when the organization’s Cybercrime Support Team was targeting drug trafficking on the dark web. After investigating his activities, the Police Service notified United States authorities.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration went undercover on AlphaBay and ordered hundreds of grams of fentanyl from Canadasunshine in the period between 2015 and 2016.
The packages of acetyl fentanyl arrived in kids’ toys or were dosed into candies that looked very similar to Pez-branded candies.
One of these Pez-like U-4770 shipments sent to the DEA included detailed warning instructions about how to consume the drug.
In the text, it was suggested the beginners should start with smaller doses, such as one candy.
If desired to additionally consume more, the beginners were recommended to wait 30 minutes before doing so.
The text also indicated experienced users might need more than 30mg to get the desired effect.
The warning part of the message included a short information section about U-47700 and its feature to be seven times more effective than morphine.
Thus, caution and small-dosage use was advised.
In August 2016, Bantli was arrested by Calgary Police and was charged with two dozen drug possession and trafficking charges.
Although Bantli was let out on bail, the seven drug charges by the law of the U.S. remained.
In January of this year, Bantli was extradited to the U.S. to face the drug-related charges. On the count of conspiring to import fentanyl, Bantli pleaded guilty last month.
His sentencing is scheduled for May 2019, and Bantli faces at least 10 years in prison for his activities.