On Augsut 19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California announced that a man who had been delivering, distributing, and dispensing controlled substances through the Internet received a prison term of 70 months. This in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(h), 841(b)(1)(A), and 846.
Sky Justin Gornik, 39 years old, was sentenced before the District Court Judge Anthony J. Battaglia, for “participating in a conspiracy to deliver, distribute and dispense controlled substances through the internet.” The San Diego resident had already pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to help launder drug proceeds using cryptocurrencies.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gornik had used several different anonymous screen names and different marketplaces on the Dark Web to conduct his criminal activities. This included using such marketplaces as Alpha Bay, Trade Route, and Abraxas, where he would buy and sell drugs such as Fentanyl and Carfentanil using different cryptocurrencies.
As part of his sentencing, Gornik was forced to forfeit millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies that he had received. This included a loss of such coins as SegWitCoin (BTC), Ethereum, and Monero.
In June 2017, Gornik was arrested after investigators found 86,000 fatal dosages of an opiate in his home. The San Diego resident would later confess to law enforcement officials that he had bought and sold fentanyl and was buying carfentanil as well. He further admitted that his illicit activities had gone on for nearly 3 years.
In 2018, the 39-year-old reached a plea agreement with the government. This included a nearly six-year-long prison term as well as the forfeiture of all assets received as part of the illegal activities.
As part of the investigation, it was discovered that Gornik purchased nearly 1200 fentanyl tablets from Steven Wallace George, a resident of Oklahoma. Since then, George has been arrested and prosecuted in his home state. According to George, he had imported the tablets from China.
According to U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr, this case serves as a warning sign for those looking to use the Internet to further their illegal drug trade. “Dark Web traffickers take note: we will not allow you to lurk in murky corners of the internet, selling and delivering deadly drugs as casually as an Amazon Prime package.”
Brewer’s warning comes with a great deal of authority. In April alone, the government made or concluded three high profile cases involving the Dark Web. In New York, three men were arrested for shipping drugs and laundering BTC. Days later, two men pled guilty in Manhattan to laundering cryptocurrency as part of a drug ring. A day before April ended, law enforcement officials in New York broke up an illicit drug distribution network called “Sinmed” that was using the Dark Web to distribute drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
The anonymity of using cryptocurrency and the Dark Web no longer appears to be a reality. So, drug dealers, be warned.
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