A nurse from Rancho Cordova, California has been arrested suspicion that she was scheming to distribute controlled substances in the U.S. using the dark web.
Federal officials indicated that they detained the suspect following suspicions that she was operating an online platform on AlphaBay Market to sell over 20,000 opioid prescription pills.
The 46-year-old nurse by the name Carrie Alaine Markis could face drug distribution and conspiracy charges.
Currently, law enforcement officers have held Markis without bail at the Sacramento County Main Jail. She is slated to appear in court.
As alleged by the prosecutors, Markis earned tens of thousands of dollars by trading opioid prescription pills and narcotics via the now-defunct darknet market AlphaBay, along with three other marketplaces.
The criminal complaint indicates that Markis holds a master’s degree in nursing science and healthcare leadership.
The court papers also show that the suspect is an alumnus of the University of California based in Davis.
According to the court records, Markis attained her registration as a nurse in 1996. Her license was supposed to expire in August 2020.
However, the court papers also show that at the moment the nurse is listed as “inactive” without any apparent description.
Markis’ Alleged Darknet Drug Trade Operations
The criminal complaint alleges that Markis operated an online pharmacy known as “Farmacy41” on various dark web platforms including AlphaBay. Federal investigators established this after reviewing the records of AlphaBay Market after seizing the site in 2017.
The closure of AlphaBay was due to a massive international operation aimed at ending the sale of illegal products through the dark web.
The fight against the sale of illegal product on the dark web is still ongoing with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, spearheading several actions including the one that led to Markis’ arrest.
The court papers showed that Markis allegedly began her dark web drug business in 2013. It is during this year that her Farmacy41 handle was active on Pandora Market, as indicated in the criminal complaint.
The suspect allegedly told her clients that the name “Farmacy41” resulted from the fact that she opened the online pharmacy at the age of 41.
Additionally, the court papers revealed that her cover business was the sale of Nutrivite vitamin products.
The court records also reveal that Markis allegedly sold 311 morphine pills, 2069 oxycodone pills, 2,577 hydrocodone pills, 32 fentanyl patches, as well as narcotics, between December 2013 and August 2014 through Pandora Market (which is now no longer operational).
The court records indicated that she made 393 sales during this period, which brought her an income of 206 Bitcoin. Based on the exchange rate at the time, this gave her earnings of $122,000.
Moreover, as presented in the criminal complaint, Farmacy41 was active in AlphaBay between November 2015 and April 2016.
Within this time frame, Farmacy41 managed to sell almost 64 fentanyl patches and 3,000 opioid prescription pills. The sales generated earnings of up to $74,235 as indicated in court records.
Apart from Pandora and AlphaBay markets, Farmacy41 also operated on the now-defunct Silk Road Market. In this market, Markis allegedly sold 13,000 prescription pills as well as other narcotics, which earned her over $232,000.
The court records further allege that a significant number of transactions that Markis made in Silk Road were paid using Bitcoin.
The criminal complaint indicates that Farmacy41 accumulated good reviews from the clients, most of whom gave the business 5/5-star ratings.
Investigation into Farmacy41
From the review of the records seized from AlphaBay marketplace, federal investigators found Markis’ online sales as well as various stores that she allegedly operated via the dark web. Further, the authorities found the emails sent to her clients.
The emails revealed that Markis claimed to be getting the controlled substances from individuals who sold their prescriptions for money.
These were mainly individuals who were using the diversion technique to supplement their earnings.
After identifying Farmacy41 as one of the traders of controlled substances in AlphaBay, investigators followed the money through a digital trail. It is through this process that they tracked down the suspect’s Rancho Cordova address.
Possible Charges Markis Is Facing
Markis allegedly mainly sold controlled substances through her Farmacy41 account as shown by the criminal complaint.
Investigators have uncovered a significant amount of damaging digital evidence regarding Markis’ alleged drug trade operations in AlphaBay and other dark web markets.
She is likely to face drug conspiracy and distribution charges. This criminal offense, if found guilty, could lead to a life sentence.
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