Two weeks ago, a federal court in the South District of California presided over by District Court Judge Anthony J. Battaglia, sentenced 39 year old Sky Justin Gornik to 70 months in prison on drug related charges.
It was the first local case involving the seizure of carfentanil, the relatively new synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than Fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
Referencing court documents, Gornik was found stashing thousands of vials of controlled substances like Fentanyl, Ketamine, Oxycodone Pills, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Naxolone, Psilocybin and Psilocin as well as Buprenorphine in his home.He admitted in court to purchasing such substances on the dark web and had been selling them successfully from 2014 till his arrest in June 2017. He is suspected to have been working for a wider network with clients across the world.
He used different screen names on multiple darknet marketplaces — including Alpha Bay, Trade Route, Abraxas, Evolution, Outlaw Market and Dream Market — to buy and sell his merchandise.
He consequently admitted to buying and selling deadly opiates like carfentanil; a fast-acting drug considered so toxic that a single grain (smaller than the size of a poppy seed can kill a man) using a number of digital currencies. Agents say they seized 1.17 grams of the opioid from Gornik's home on June 2017, an amount they say could equate to over 86,000 fatal dosages.
Carfentanil and Fentanyl are much more dangerous drugs than Heroin.
A notebook with USPS tracking numbers and pay/owe sheets along with rolls of labels for printing were also found in the search of Gornik's Clairemont home. As part of his plea deal, Gornik agreed to forfeit millions in cryptocurrencies ranging from Bitcoins, Stratis, Ethereum, and currency in Poloniex and Brittex accounts.
U.S Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr. issued a warning saying
Dark Web traffickers take note: we will not allow you to lurk in murky corners of the internet, selling and delivering deadly drugs as casually as Amazon Prime.He lauded the efforts of the teams and leads on exposing Gornik's drug enterprise despite it being shrouded in anonymity
The agencies responsible for Gornik's arrest and conviction, including the U.S Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Money Laundering And Asset Recovery Section, San Diego District Attorney's Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Cyber Unit of United States Postal Inspection Service in Washington D.C., San Diego and Oklahoma reiterated their agencies commitment to battling the opioid crisis and bringing those that break the law by selling deadly drugs on the Dark Web to book.
The accused was charged with 1 count of Conspiracy to Deliver, Dispense and Distribute Controlled Substances by Internet, which carried a maximum penalty of 10 years minimum mandatory to life, a $1million USD fine, 5 years of supervised release and a second count of Conspiracy to Launder Money, with a maximum penalty of 20 years, $500,000 and 3 years of supervised release.
Gornik pled guilty on both counts and agreed to hand over the proceeds of his criminal ventures in millions of dollars in Bitcoin and other digital currency. On the 19th of August, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison.