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Narcotics
06/04/2019

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Nicaraguan national pleads guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine, marijuana on the darknet

SACRAMENTO – Eddy Steven Sandoval Lopez, 23, a Nicaraguan national residing in Sacramento, pleaded guilty, Monday, June 3, to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will continue to identify, investigate and bring to justice individuals who seek to profit from the illicit distribution of narcotics on the darknet,” said Jerry Templet, Deputy Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (San Francisco and Northern California).

According to court documents, Sandoval Lopez distributed cocaine and marijuana on a darknet site, Dream Market, using the vendor accounts “CokeWave,” “SafeDealsDirect,” and “HerbanFarmer.” The Dream Market allowed individuals to sell narcotics and other illegal goods and services. In return for his cocaine and marijuana sales, Sandoval Lopez received $97,891 in bitcoin from his customers.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy Task Force (NCIDE), composed of agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The NCIDE Task Force is a joint federal task force focused on targeting all forms of darknet and cryptocurrency activity in the Eastern District of California. The Sacramento County Sherriff’s Department also assisted in this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.

Sandoval Lopez is scheduled for sentencing on August 26 before U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. Sandoval Lopez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/05/2019