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Federal officials in Sacramento announced a new round of indictments Friday aimed at disrupting the sale of opioids nationwide through marketplaces set up on the darknet, a portion of the internet that uses encryption to shield users from law enforcement.
The indictments include a Rancho Cordova nurse who allegedly sold thousands of opioid pills and other products, an Elk Grove woman accused or providing pills to the nurse after buying them from legitimate prescription holders and a trio of suspects in Arizona charged with selling heroin and methamphetamine online.
“The darknet is not the cloak of secrecy for illegal drug users that they think it is,” U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said in a news conference at his downtown Sacramento office, where he was joined with officials from the FBI, Homeland Security and other agencies that are part of a task force charged with stopping such sales.
Scott, who focused his office efforts on mortgage fraud when he served as the U.S attorney in Sacramento under President George W. Bush, is now taking aim at darknet drug sales in his return under the Trump administration.
The Sacramento-based U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California was responsible for taking down the AlphaBay marketplace in 2017, the largest illegal sales site busted by such efforts.
That case led to an array of evidence that has helped investigators track down internet sellers, Scott said, including Carrie Alaine Markis, a registered nurse accused of operating a site called Farmacy41 that sold thousands of pills online.
Markis, 42, who was arrested in January after a criminal complaint was issued against her in federal court in Sacramento, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury along with Andrea Michelle “Jill” Jordan, 52.
Jordan is accused of purchasing drugs from individuals and providing them to Markis. She was arrested Thursday.
Federal agents who arrested Markis in January recovered $234,000 in cash and $1.8 million found in a “cryptocurrency wallet” that the federal government will seek to obtain through forfeiture proceedings.
Since September, investigations by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy task force have led to 14 arrests, four indictments, the seizure of six firearms, more than $423,000 in cash and nearly $2 million in bitcoin, Scott’s office said.
The efforts include the indictments of three suspects in Chandler, Ariz., who are accused of selling drugs online to undercover agents with the Sacramento task force through online accounts called “TheSickness” and “SicknessVersion2,” officials said.