The feds came for David Ryan Burchard on January 21, based on an investigation into his alleged illegal dealings. During an interrogation, he told Homeland Security Investigations special agent Matthew Larsen that he and his family were getting by on a $100,000 life insurance payment after the death of his daughter. He also said had been trading bitcoin since 2012 on a website called LocalBitcoins. However, after some missteps on Burchard’s behalf, the feds believe that he is one of the most successful drug dealers of cocaine and weed on the online black market, under the name “caliconnect.” He stands has been charged with distribution of marijuana and cocaine on dark-web marketplaces.
Under the name Burchard, allegedly, got his start on the infamous, now-defunct Silk Road. “The FBI estimates that ‘caliconnect’ was the eighteenth largest vendor worldwide out of the approximately 4,000 vendors who sold goods on the Silk Road,” wrote Larsen in the affidavit. He is suspected of making $1.4 million through Silk Road. When Silk Road was shut down, Burchard allegedly moved onto pitch on other dark-web sites, such as the now-defunct Agora and Abraxas, as well as AlphaBay, which is still active. He would, allegedly, mail orders out nationwide, from post offices Merced and Fresno counties in California. He was paid with bitcoins and prepaid cards (which led investigators to him).
According to the affidavit, Burchard got on Homeland Security’s radar about a year ago, when Larsen noticed that he was selling “millions of dollars of Bitcoins to an unlicensed digital currency exchanger.” This lead to a GPS tracking device being placed on Burchard’s car and conduct physical surveillance. He was allegedly seen taking packages into the post offices.
In the affidavit, Larsen writes that he learned on June 3, 2015 that Buchard had registered or attempted to register or trademark the phrase “caliconnect.”
When investigators searched Reddit and other public websites for “caliconnect,” he found comments and reviews from people who had ordered marijuana from the dark-web vendor using that same username, according to the complaint…
Burchard told investigators that “caliconnect” was the name of his clothing line, and that was the reason he was trying to trademark the name.
When the feds raided Burchard’s home, they seized computers, electronic storage devices and a trash bag filled with weed. They also confiscated his cars, which included a 2010 Jaguar XF, a Mercedes S63 AMG, a 2013 Mercedes C250 and a 2007 Chevy Tahoe. He denied selling weed online, but admitted that he was a dealer as a teen.
Burchard made his first appearance in court on Tuesday. He faces a potential 40 years in prison and $2 million fine, if convicted.