Dark Web Drug Distribution: Florida Darknet Trafficker Found Guilty


A Florida-based darknet drug trafficker has pleaded guilty to unlawful dark web drug distribution. He had been distributing thousands of prescription drugs (opioid pills) in exchange for more than half a million dollars.

As the court document mentions, the accused Daren James Reid aged 35 years from Fort Lauderdale had been using the dark web to distribute oxycodone between 2012 and 2020. The accused had conducted dark web drug distribution under the monikers “Imperial Royalty” and “Oxyflight”. He had sold more than 12,000 oxycodone pills whose sales yielded a profit of over $500,000.

The accused had made use of the dark web drug marketplaces such as the Wall Street, Silk Road and the Apollon for advertising and selling the oxycodone pills having various prices and strength. Furthermore, he used the U.S. Postal Service to mail the pills illegally to all his customers across the U.S. He used to accept payments in Bitcoin (BTC). He had also possessed more than a kilogram of morphine, oxycodone and various other pills in a Florida-based storage facility. 

“Reid preyed upon the vulnerabilities of others by illegally distributing over half a million dollars of highly addictive opioids through dark web markets,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “EDVA, along with its law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate and hold accountable individuals who pose a significant danger to our communities by placing profits over lives.”

The accused had pleaded guilty to the unethical dark web drug distribution along with the possession of having intentions to distribute oxycodone. Currently, he has been scheduled to be sentenced on the 1st of June 2021 and will face a maximum penalty of 20 years (240 months) behind bars for each count. However, the actual sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum penalties. A judge from the federal district court will be determining any sentence following the U.S. sentencing guidelines and the other statutory factors. 

Liam O’Grady had accepted the plea, Senior U.S. District Judge and the following had made the announcement:

  • Antonio J. Gomez, Inspector in Charge of the Miami Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  • James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division
  • Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia
  • Mark S. McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office
  • Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia

Karolina Klyuchnikova, the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, is currently prosecuting the case. 

The FBI Washington Field Office’s Hi-Tech Opioid Task Force comprising of the task force partners and the FBI agents inclusive of officers of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, DEA, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and detectives from local assisting police agencies and special agents had conducted the investigation. The task force had been charged with the identification and the investigation of the most atrocious dark web markets as well as the vendors operating on these marketplaces. These vendors are also considered as the ones engaged in illegal acquisition and dark web drug distribution, including various controlled substances such as methamphetamine, fentanyl and other opioids. 

Source: FDA

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