Rancho Cordova Pair Indicted for Selling Narcotics Through Social Media Accounts and Receiving Payment in Bitcoin
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment today against Nathan Paul Barnes, 23, and Tiarra Maureen Jackson, 22, both of Rancho Cordova, charging them with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and psilocybin, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Barnes and Jackson operated a drug distribution enterprise called “Fine Cali Herb” over various social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat. Barnes and Jackson sold large quantities of marijuana, THC products, and psilocybin mushrooms to customers throughout the United States and abroad. Barnes received payment for the narcotics in several forms, including Bitcoin.
In July 2018, law enforcement agents conducted an undercover purchase of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms from Barnes through his Snapchat account. Case agents also conducted surveillance of Barnes and Jackson dropping off mail parcels containing narcotics at post offices throughout the Sacramento area.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE) Task Force, consisting of agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The NCIDE Task Force targets all forms of dark-web and cryptocurrency criminal activity in the Eastern District of California. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Paul A. Hemesath are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Barnes and Jackson face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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