Updated August 7th, 2020
David Brian Pate, 44, a United States and Costa Rican citizen, and Jose Luis Fung Hou, 38, a Costa Rican citizen, both of whom reside in Costa Rica, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for their illegal sales of opioids on the darknet.
The seven-count indictment charged counts of Conspiring with Persons to Distribute Controlled Substances, Distribution of Controlled Substances, Conspiring with Persons to Import Controlled Substances, Conspiring to Launder Money, and Laundering of Monetary Instruments.
The indictment alleges that Pate illegally purchased narcotics, including OxyContin and morphine pills, primarily from Fung, a pharmacist in Costa Rica. Pate would launder payments to Fung to purchase narcotics.
Pate then sold these narcotics on numerous darknet markets, including Silk Road and AlphaBay, in exchange for bitcoin. Pate utilized various online monikers including “buyersclub” on darknet markets, online forums, and bitcoin exchanges.
Pate advertised that he was selling the “old formula” of OxyContin, which did not contain tamper-resistant features such as a crush-proof feature that prevented a user from inhaling or injecting the pills after pulverizing them.
The indictment further alleges that Pate’s darknet sales involved him sending bulk shipments of narcotics in pill form from Costa Rica, often concealed in tourist souvenirs such as maracas, to co-conspirator re-shippers in the United States.
Pate would then send the re-shippers a list of customer orders, which included customer’s names, the customer’s shipping address, and the quantity of pills they purchased.
The re-shippers created smaller packages of pills, which they then mailed to the customer.
Once the shipments were received by the customer, the darknet market would release funds in bitcoin, which were held in escrow until the transaction was completed, into Pate’s account on the darknet market.
Customers paid Pate over 23,903 bitcoin for these darknet market sales. The co-conspirators also laundered payments in the form of bitcoin and international wire transfers.
The charges in the pleadings are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.