Jason Keith Arnold, 46, of Chandler, Arizona, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Arnold, along with co-defendants David White, 50, and Alicia McCoy, 31, both of Chandler, operated the vendor accounts “TheSickness” and “SicknessVersion2” on Dream Marketplace, through which they conducted more than 3,000 transactions for heroin and methamphetamine to customers throughout the country.
Dream Marketplace was a website on the darknet that allowed individuals to sell narcotics and other illegal goods and services. Arnold and his co-conspirators mailed heroin inside Haribo Gold gummy bear packages from post offices in the Chandler region. Some of these packages were mailed to locations in the Eastern District of California.
Arnold is scheduled to be sentenced on May 11 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. Arnold faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Charges against White and McCoy are pending. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of investigations by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE) task force, which is composed of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought in conjunction with the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J‑CODE) Team. Established within the FBI’s Hi-Tech Organized Crime Unit, J-CODE is a U.S. Government initiative announced in January 2018, aimed at targeting drug trafficking, especially fentanyl and other opioids, on the darknet. Building on the work initiated with the takedowns of Silk Road and AlphaBay, the FBI’s J-CODE team brings together agents, analysts, and professional staff with expertise in drugs, gangs, health care fraud, and more, and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners from across the U.S. Government, to focus on disrupting the sale of drugs via the darknet and dismantling criminal enterprises that facilitate this trafficking.