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California woman accused of selling drugs on the darknet

A Sacramento-area registered nurse was charged by federal agents on April 5 with selling thousands of opioid pills on what is known as the darknet. The 46-year-old woman faces narcotics distribution and conspiracy charges.

The darknet is an area of the internet that is designed to be inaccessible to the public. Websites located on the darknet often employ sophisticated encryption protocols to shield them from law enforcement. The woman is accused of using an encrypted website to sell in excess of 20,000 fentanyl and oxycodone pills and patches.

A 52-year-old Elk Grove resident has also been charged. She is accused of using legitimate prescriptions to acquire opioid medications that she then sold to the registered nurse for distribution on the darknet. The investigation that led to the two women being charged began when federal agents closed down a large online drug marketplace in July 2017.

The investigation into the woman's alleged activities was conducted by federal agents assigned to the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy Task Force, which is comprised of agents from the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Since September 2018, the task force has taken 14 suspected drug dealers into custody, seized almost $2 million in cryptocurrency and confiscated about $400,000 in cash.

The penalties for committing federal crimes are usually severe, and U.S. attorneys generally wait until they have convincing evidence before pursuing indictments. When their clients face serious federal charges and the evidence against them includes detailed electronic records, criminal defense attorneys may suggest pursuing a negotiated plea agreement.

Source: Capital Public Radio, Feds Charge Sacramento-Area Women With Illegal Drug Sales On Darknet, Chris Nichols, April 5, 2019Source: The Sacramento Bee, Feds say Rancho Cordova nurse sold thousands of opioid pills nationwide on dark web, Sam Stanton, Jan. 27, 2019

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