Marion Anthony Noble pleaded guilty to international drug distribution after being indicted last year with five other conspirators. The drug distribution gang which was labeled by Utah’s U.S. Attorney, John Huberas as the Shamo’s international drug distribution organization was found guilty of manufacturing highly potent fentanyl drug and distributing them on a darknet marketplace. Being led by Aaron Shamo, they successfully made many distributions until their arrest. In the U.S. district court, Noble said to the court that he was recruited by Aaron Shamo, and was made to take charge of processing orders and controlling the customer service in a store set up on the Alphabay market.
Between December 2015 to November 2016, the gang successfully shipped 5,606 packages and envelopes earning $2.8 million. Noble particularly operated from his basement and had drugs delivered to customers who made orders online. Noble revealed that the demand of the work made the ringleader, Shamo to recruit another person. “Eventually, I was unable to keep up with the demands of my assignment, so Aaron Shamo hired another person, whose name I learned was Drew, to help with my responsibilities,” he said to the court.
Upon investigation, $1.2 million cash was seized from Shamo and about 500,000 pills discovered by the authorities. Authorities also found 12 kilograms of a mixture which contained fentanyl. A trial was set for him this year after spending 15 months in police custody. They also engaged in alprazolam tablets trafficking as well as fentanyl pills which were marked as oxycodone.
Their operation was linked to 28 overdose death in Salt Lake City. The DEA exposed a carfentanil press back in 2016. However, this was different. With the profile name of DRWARIO, Shamo made Noble take charge of the Alphabay store named as Pharma-master. This later led to his arrest.
The gang shipped illegal drugs to over 8,000 recipients across the globe according to the court.
With respect to the recent rate of drug distribution in the country, Federal authorities believe that the action taken against the traffickers will go a long way to prevent others from engaging in this kind of crime. The U.S. is already battling high drug overdose deaths of which most cases are a result of the darknet drug trafficking world. Of course, the authorities have taken proactive measures to control these activities by strengthening their postal systems and their border securities.
After the seizure, Brian Besser, district agent in charge for the DEA in Utah, explained that synthetic opioids are extremely deadly, and are measured in micrograms. He further explained that two milligram of opioid is very fatal to the non-opioid user. This has been a reason why Utah has recorded many drug overdose deaths for the last few years. A report says that fentanyl drugs are very easy to mail from the darknet.
The gang was able to obtain materials and use them to manufacture dangerous drugs, pressed to look like a legal pharmaceutical product. The court document says that Shamo and Drew were able to get these drugs to customers through the conspirators.
Drew Crandall was arrested and indicted on three counts in connection with the drug ring. The Judge who presided over Shamo’s case permitted the government to auction his vehicle and everything found on his bitcoin wallet obtained from the illicit business.
Following the arrest, authorities sold $10 million worth of bitcoin and bitcoin cash seized from the operation. According to Noble, he quit the job but was given another offer to work with the team on a part-time basis. Shamo agreed to pay him $800 for every two weeks starting from October 2016 until their store was shut down in November 2017, as a result of Alphabay’s shutdown. Aside from Shamo, Drew and Noble, the other arrested conspirators were Sean Michael Gygi, Alexandrya Marie Tonge, and Katherine Lauren Ann Bustin.
The group of four additional members face many counts such as “conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, conspiracy to use the U.S. postal service for drug offense, Conspiracy to distribute alprazolam, possession of fentanyl with the intention to distribute and the manufacture of alprazolam, aiding and abetting the importation of a controlled substance.”