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Another Dark Web Drug Dealer Forced to Hand over Illicit Crypto Earnings

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August 20, 2019 | 

789 Views | 

Darryn Pollock | 

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There has been a recent spate of crackdowns on drug dealers who have been operating on the dark web. Many of these dealers have been caught and brought to justice, but they have also been forced to hand over their illicit earnings, which are usually in cryptocurrencies. 

The latest to be caught for conspiring to sell drugs on the internet is Thirty-nine-year-old Sky Gornik. The California man plead guilty to frequenting a number of well known illegal dark web marketplaces where he would deal in fentanyl, carfentanil, ketamine, oxycodone, amphetamine and other drugs.

Caught with lethal doses

Gornik’s house was raided by authorities where they came across various amounts of the different drugs. Of that, they found 1.7 grams of carfentanil, a form of highly potent opioid, that is enough to produce over 86,000 fatal doses.

They also found sheets of fentanyl gelatin tablets which seemed to also originate from the dark web. According to court proceedings, Gornik was found to have been buying 600-1,200 fentanyl gel tablets a week over around two years from another dark web dealer, identified as Steven George.

Giving up his earnings

As part of his plea, Gornik he also agreed to hand over his ill-gotten cryptocurrency earnings from the dealing of these drugs. The figure he will give up is said to be in the millions and they are to be found in Bitcoin, Stratis, Ethereum and Monero which were held in U.S.-based Bittrex and Poloniex exchanges.

“Gornik admitted that these digital or crypto currency represented drug trafficking proceeds of the offense and were involved in the offense of money laundering over the Dark Web,” according to the Southern District of California Attorney’s Office.

The sentence for his crimes has been set at 70 months (just under six years) and relates to the drug dealing charges, as well as charges for laundering money using the digital currencies. 

A long list

It seems that there has been a stepping up from authorities in catching dealers that are using the dark web to sell drugs, Some have been caught and forced to give up their cryptocurrency earnings while others have been been caught because of the use of their cryptocurrencies as they tried to exchange or launder their money.

One similar case was that of Richard Castro, who had to give up $4 million of ill-gotten funds, some of it in Bitcoin, after he pleaded guilty for selling drugs, including Carfentanil and Fentanyl, over the dark web.

Juan Munoz, acting special agent in charge of HSI in San Diego, said:

“Today’s sentencing of Gornik demonstrates the commitment of Homeland Security Investigations and our federal partners to bring these criminals to justice. HSI will continue to aggressively pursue those that continue to violate the law and jeopardize the safety of our communities by selling deadly opioids and other dangerous drugs via the Dark Web.”

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