A federal jury in Orlando, Florida, found Julian Villa-Gomez Lemus, a 31-year-old from Visalia, CA, guilty of selling drugs via the darknet. Previously—or very shortly before but within the same week—Julian Villa-Gomez Lemus watched his conspirators plead guilty for the same or very similar crimes. All of the defendants shared a conviction: conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. However, the degree of each charge varied amongst the men.
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According to the indictment, Julian Villa-Gomez, Fadhle Muqbel Saeed, and Alfonso Bojorquez-Vazquez involved themselves in said drug dealing conspiracy. The six-count indictment, only recently unsealed, charged the three with conspiracy to distribute several drugs: marijuana, methamphetamine, and hydrocodone. In addition to the conspiracy charges, the indictment accused the men of aiding and abetting each other and those both “known and unknown to the jury.”
The entire case raised questions online—specifically /r/darknetmarkets—based on the number of aliases involved. For instance, Saeed went by darkexpresso, bonappetit, and Damien Darko. The list of associated cases for some of the men took a decent amount of time to read through. Reddit users questioned why the government waited so long to make the arrests.
The indictment itself only accused the group with marijuana, methamphetamine, and hydrocodone distribution. However, the recent announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida mentions those substances, along with additional ones. According to the announcement mentioned above, the group sold cocaine and steroids as well. “The drugs were sent to purchasers throughout the United States and Australia,” the announcement stated.
During the hearing, according to the DEA, the courtroom heard the classic spiel on how to buy from the darknet, how to buy bitcoins, etc. The group, including known and possibly unknown individuals, conducted 1,300 transactions on Silk Road 2. The gross proceeds of those sales amounted to more than $1.9m—all of which must be forfeited.
The indictment revealed that the group sold starting as early as October 2012. Almost every charge in the indictment involved the state where the vendors lived and the state where they faced charges: California and Florida, respectively.
Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced that the sentencing hearings would occur on March 23, 2017. The DEA investigated the case and an indictment received necessary signatures on May 11, 2016. These charges carry up to 20 years in a federal prison. The USPIS additionally received credit for aiding the DEA in investigating the men.
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