Five members of two crime rings from the Los Angeles County are now facing life in federal prison for drug-related charges.
The defendants used the dark web to sell heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs, which they later shipped in stuffed animal toys nationwide.
One of the heroin shipments the group sent out resulted in a lethal overdose in Tennessee.
A Domestic Drug Operation
The five defendants have been indicted on multiple charges for their alleged involvement with the darknet vendor account “Drugpharmacist.”
The names of the Lancaster-based offenders are Jackie Walter Burns, 20, Adan Sepulveda, 26, Jerrell Eugene Anderson, 28, Christopher Carion Van Holton, 31, and Kenneth Lashawn Hadley, 31.
Earlier this month, all five of them were taken into custody on a criminal complaint but were freed on bond.
The nine-count indictment recently submitted by a federal court in Los Angeles states that the suspects used the dark web with the purpose of selling drugs nationally and shipping them into stuffed children’ toys.
According to a news release from the Central District of California U.S. Attorney’s Office, the alleged members of the crime rings sold and shipped methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine.
Besides all the other charges, the conspiracy to distribute the drug supply was a predominant charge.
As stated in the affidavit that was filed with the criminal complaint in the case, the drug-stuffed animal toys were sent through the U.S. Postal Service across the country, to customers of “Drugpharmacist.”
On August 7, 2018, a heroin order was sent out to a customer in Knoxville, Tennessee who later died from an overdose of the supply.
The investigators in the case confirmed that stash houses based in the San Fernando Valley were used to prepare the drug packages before shipping them via the Postal Service.
These houses were preparation centers and places from where the crime ring delivered the orders to their clients.
The federal prosecutors said that if all five defendants are convicted on all counts, each could face life behind bars.
The individual arraignments of the offenders in the case are expected in the following weeks.
Second Recent Case of Its Kind in California
This is not the first case of a California-based darknet operation shipping drugs via the U.S. Postal Service.
Another three-member group from California was recently arrested for conducting over 2,000 sales of cocaine and methamphetamine through the dark web.
The group operated under the vendor account named “Aeirla” and was shipping out drugs stuffed in kids’ toys.
The three members of the group were arrested after delivering a drug package to an undercover agent in Pittsburgh.
Two of the defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. On March 25, the third suspect signed a plea agreement. Currently, he is free on bond.
Same as the alleged crime ring members in Los Angeles, each defendant is now facing the possibility of a life sentence.
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