LOS ANGELES – Five Lancaster residents are facing federal charges of using the Darknet to sell methamphetamine and other drugs nationwide, including one shipment of heroin in a stuffed animal that led to a fatal overdose in Tennessee, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Jerrell Eugene Anderson, 28, Christopher Carion Van Holton, 31, Adan Sepulveda, 26, Kenneth Lashawn Hadley, 31, and Jackie Walter Burns, 20, have been charged with, among other things, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, according to a nine-count indictment that was returned last week in Los Angeles federal court.
The Lancaster residents are accused of being members of the Los Angeles-based “Drugpharmacist” drug trafficking organization — named for the moniker it used on the Darknet marketplaces Wall Street Market and Dream.
All five were arrested on a criminal complaint earlier this month and freed on bond. Their arraignments are expected in the coming weeks, federal prosecutors said.
According to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, the defendants allegedly sold controlled substances to Drugpharmacist customers via the Darknet and distributed them inside stuffed animals through the U.S. Postal Service.
Prosecutors said one shipment of heroin on Aug. 7, 2018, resulted in the fatal overdose of a victim in Knoxville, Tennessee. Investigators confirmed the ring was using stash houses in the San Fernando Valley to package drugs for delivery to customers throughout the United States.
If convicted on all counts, each defendant could face life in federal prison, prosecutors said.
“Law enforcement continues to shine a spotlight on criminals who use the Darknet,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “My office will continue to target drug peddlers who use increasingly sophisticated means in their misguided notion they can avoid detection.”