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Mon, April 22

4 indicted, charged with trafficking drugs on the darknet

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A Northern California nurse, a tattoo artist in Arizona and two others have been indicted on charges of selling opioids, heroin and methamphetamine over the darknet, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

The indictments were the result of a federal operation targeting drug trafficking on the darknet that has netted 14 arrests, large seizures of narcotics, nearly $424,000 in cash and $2 million in digital currency, the U.S. Attorney's office in Sacramento said.

The defendants were charged in two separate cases of peddling narcotics through darknet websites that are accessible only through encrypted means and offer the sale of illegal goods and services.

"The darknet has become a one-stop shop for individuals peddling powerful opioids, like fentanyl, because of the anonymity it seemingly offers to those who seek to evade detection," said Chris Nielsen, Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge.

Prosecutors said Carrie Alaine Markis ran an illegal online pharmacy out of her Rancho Cordova home by reselling fentanyl patches and about 11,000 hydrocodone and oxycodone pills from people who received prescriptions for them.

Court documents said Markis told a customer her "cover biz" was a nutritional supplement company.

Investigators who searched her home in January found about $1.8 million in Bitcoin in her cryptocurrency wallet and $234,000 in cash.

A request for comment from her federal defense attorney has been made.

Prosecutors said three people in Chandler, Arizona, were also indicted on charges of selling heroin and methamphetamine through a business they operated on the darknet. They were identified as Jason Keith Arnold, the owner of a tattoo parlor in Chandler; David Lee White and Alicia Marie McCoy.

Federal agents who made undercover purchases of heroin from their business last year received the drug inside gummy bear packages. They determined White and McCoy mailed a large volume of parcels at post offices in the Chandler area and were exchanging hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoins for U.S. currency at a cryptocurrency exchange company.

A message to Arnold at his business has not been returned.

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