Darknet Drug Distribution & Money Laundering: Californian Pleads Not Guilty


Money Laundering: Damon Jobin 35, has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of illicit distribution of drugs through the dark web, and money laundering.

According to the criminal complaint read at the court, the California man was involved in a drug distribution network with other co-conspirators and distributed about 100,000 pills of fentanyl and analog fentanyl using the online black market as the medium.

He mostly distributed the opioids into South Dakota, using the loopholes in the postal services to his advantage. In total, he allegedly made a nationwide distribution of 2.6 million fentanyl pills.

The federal grand jury formally indicted the defendant on 23 October 2018. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Jobin was involved in the distribution of 100 grams of fentanyl and money laundering. As claimed by the report, 20,000 pills were discovered in mails being shipped to customers in 2017. The report further stated that most of the customers who are suspects or convicts received the shipments in Chamberlain, Sioux Fall, and Mitchell. The authorities confiscated a total of 200 packages and confirmed that the packages contained substances tested to be cyclopropyl fentanyl and analog fentanyl.

It was also established that the defendant took records of the total weight of the shipped illicit drugs, found to be 259 kilograms of fentanyl.

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Fentanyl has been reported to be the major cause of overdose deaths across the globe as they are shipped in large quantities. The danger in importing fentanyl through the dark web is the possibility of obtaining and consuming something not meant for human use. Experts believe that just a kilogram of fentanyl is enough to cause one million fatal overdoses. The 259 kilogram is more than enough to cause harm to people.

The U.S. Justice Department also stated that Jobin and his co-conspirators attempted to ship the 200 confiscated packages to 36 states in the country.

In addition to his drug-related charges, he was also accused of money laundering.

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The court revealed that Jobin laundered about $130,000 from Bitcoin. This was said to be the proceeds from his illegal drug trade, having received payments in Bitcoin and converting them to fiat.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – United States Attorney Ron Parson stated that the law enforcement partners are working tirelessly to dismantle every drug network and end drug chains to bring criminals who make money at the expense of human suffering to the authority of the law.

He stated that their effort is beyond boundaries as they would subject anyone involved in crime and hiding anywhere to justice.

On 29 November 2019, Jobin was arrested in Los Angeles, California.

As claimed by a report, he was brought before the court presided by Honorable Karen L. Stevenson, U.S. Magistrate Judge. The Judge then released him on a $25,000 bail bond and ordered him to reappear before the court in the District of South Dakota in February 2019.

Jobin, however, fled to Thailand in an attempt to escape prosecution. This forced the authorities to issue an arrest warrant on the 35-year-old man. On 7 June 2019, the Royal Thai Police arrested him and sent him back to the U.S. by the help of the U.S. marshals. Parson reacted to this and stated that the state marshal is capable of finding anyone regardless of where they are hiding.

On Thursday, 8 August 2019, Jobin appeared before Honorable Veronica L. Duffy, U.S. Magistrate Judge in the South Dakota. He pleaded not guilty to charges leveled against him. Jobin has then been put into custody.

This case was a product of the joint operation of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Marshal Service, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Division of State, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Western Cybercrime Unit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Also, the Chamberlain Police Department and the Costa Mesa Police Department played a huge role in ensuring the case was a successful one.

The defendant is said to face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison. Also, he faces a maximum penalty of being sentenced to life in prison and a possible fine of $10 million.

Over the years, law enforcement in collaboration with other agencies has staged an intense operation to trace all illegal drug networks leading to numerous arrests. Most of the recent arrests were initiated by the undercover agents positioned on the dark web to monitor perpetrators, and also, the intervention of the Customs and Border Security officers. It is expected that the end of the operation would see a drastic decrease in illegal drug importation and fewer cases of overdosed deaths.

Source: DOJ

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