A Roseville couple could face up to four years in prison in connection to drug activity on the darknet, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
After a nearly year-and-a-half-long investigation, Xavier Speropoulos and Lauren Crowe pleaded guilty to illegal use of a cellphone in furtherance of a crime, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott.
According to authorities, the couple sold various marijuana products under the Dankstix username on the darknet’s Dream Market. The account had been active since October 2017.
The darknet is an encrypted network where people can use cryptocurrency to purchase guns, drugs, poison and more.
The investigation involved the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy Task Force, which is composed of agents from the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS Criminal Investigations.
Previous reporting by the Bee documented the recently formed NCIDE and its efforts to thwart online drug sales. The law enforcement group has made multiple arrests in the Sacramento area.
According to the criminal complaint, authorities made four separate marijuana purchases from the operator of the Dankstix username in 2018. Each parcel ranged from 131 to 300 grams.
Authorities identified two email addresses used by the Dankstix account by utilizing USPIS tools and databases.
According to the criminal complaint, an IP address tied to a Dankstix email address accessed United States Postal Service systems and was also used minutes later to access another USPS account, which listed speropoulos1 as a username, as well as a Roseville address.
Authorities used online databases which confirmed that Crowe and Speropoulos lived there.
According to the criminal complaint, the Eastern District of California initially listed their offenses as distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Speropoulos, 25, and Crowe, 20, are scheduled for sentencing Jan. 16, 2020. They face a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.