Southern California Darknet Drug Dealer Gets 10 Years in Federal Prison

A 41-year-old Glendale man is the eighth person convicted by a federal jury of participating in a dark web drug trafficking operation that sold methamphetamine and MDMA both in the United States and internationally, authorities announced earlier this year. month.

In a news release, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California say that from at least April 2019 to May 2020, Arbi Setaghaian Sangbarani was a member of a dark web drug trafficking organization known as NoLove mailed methamphetamine and MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, to customers who ordered them online in exchange for virtual currency.

The illicit narcotics, according to authorities, were stored and packaged at a residential home in the Sunland-Tujunga area of ​​Los Angeles.

In February 2020, law enforcement discovered and seized nearly 50 pounds of methamphetamine and more than 6,700 MDMA pills in a shed on the property.

In addition to storing, packaging and shipping the drugs to customers, the 41-year-old was also tasked with laundering some of the proceeds from illegal narcotics sales.

“One of Sangbarani’s accomplices collected bitcoins as proceeds from drug sales on the dark web,” prosecutors said. “That co-conspirator then transferred a portion of those proceeds in virtual currency to Sangbarani. Sangbarani exchanged the bitcoin into US dollars, transferred the dollars to his bank account and withdrew the proceeds in cash.”

This case also marked the first time that the federal government of the Central District of California presented cryptocurrency-related evidence to track darknet markets in a jury trial.

U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. sentenced Sangbarani to 10 years in federal prison after a jury convicted the 41-year-old of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and MDMA, two counts of money laundering and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.