A Canadian dark web fentanyl vendor has been arrested and sentenced to eleven years (132 months) of imprisonment. The accused has been pleaded guilty of selling fentanyl on the darknet markets, AlphaBay and Dream.
The defendant has been identified to be James Nelson, 38 years old and a resident of Kelowna, Canada. Earlier this year, he has pleaded guilty to a single count of trafficking over 1.5 grams of fentanyl and also a single count of possessing over a hundred grams of the carfentanil drug possessing an intent to supply the drugs. The charges arose from a fourteen count indictment that had named Nelson and his alleged co-conspirator.
“In communications with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, it has been indicated this may be one of the most significant and perhaps the most sophisticated fentanyl/carfentanil trafficking and exportation enterprises that have been uncovered in Canada to date,” said Sgt. Alex Lynch of the Kelowna RCMP Street Enforcement Unit.
The investigation began with The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who kept a close watch on the couple back in September 2016, which was a part of the Project E-Neophile. The investigators in Canada had received information from the law enforcement agencies in various other countries while the investigation was going on. This even includes the Internal Revenue Service in the United States. While the investigation of the undisclosed dark web fentanyl vendor was going on, the IRS had successfully identified the accused Nelson to be a dark web vendor. The Information from the IRS has linked Nelson to the “FatTuesday_13” account on the AlphaBay Darknet Market.
In response to the IRS report, the Canadian investigators have physically surveilled the accused and his co-conspirator named Cassie Bonthoux. During the surveillance procedure, police had regularly observed Bonthoux drop off packages at the Post Office. They had also seen her purchasing bulk of magazines, which is considered to be an important piece of information helping to confirm the link between Nelson and FatTuesday_13.
The undercover investigators have purchased the drug fentanyl from the dark web fentanyl vendor “FatTuesday_13” on the AlphaBay Market. The vendor has utilized the magazines as a decoy or means of disguise, which the investigators have reported after they have received the packages of fentanyl drug.
Back in November 2016, the Canadian authorities had seized a fentanyl package that had been addressed to Nelson. In response to that, the accused had put FatTuesday_13 account in the vacation mode and had never returned. This has halted the investigation up until July 2017, when the investigators found the same vendor account on the Dream Market. One month following this, the police had raided the Kelowna business that has been owned by Bonthoux and simultaneously a house that was owned by Nelson. The police had recovered over 120 grams of carfentanil and fentanyl during the raids. Along with this, they have also found two firearms, 19.2 Bitcoins and Canada Post Mailing Receipts numbering 90 for one month.
One year after this, the Canadian government had unsealed a fourteen count indictment including four drug import/export charges, six trafficking charges and three charges related to the firearm. Back in July 2019, six of the charges were listed in the indictment as stated by The Crown. This included three trafficking charges, one firearm charge and two import-export charges.
This year, in February, nelson has pleaded guilty to the trafficking of fentanyl and the possession for the purpose of trafficking the carfentanil drug. The guilty plea of Nelson has ensured that Bonthoux would be freed. But the deal needed the prosecution to drop the charges against Nelson’s co-conspirator Bonthoux in case Nelson pleads guilty to both the trafficking charges.
A recent sentence hearing was carried on, where the prosecution had asked the court to sentence the dark web fentanyl vendor to 16 years in the jail. But, the presiding judge has sentenced Nelson to just 11 years of imprisonment. The factors that contributed to the judge’s decision were the former opioid addiction of Nelson and his willingness entering a guilty plea. Nelson had earlier informed the court that he and his co-conspirator had spent over $10,000 every month on personal use opioids.
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