A darknet vendor in Canada has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for selling fentanyl on Alphabay and Dream Market.
He is James nelson, 38, of Kelowna, Canada, he pleaded guilty earlier in 2020 to one count of possessing 100 grams of carfentanil with the intention to supply and one count of trafficking 1.5 grams of fentanyl. Nelson was charged along with an alleged co-conspirator in a 14-count indictment.
Sgt. Alex Lynch of the Kelowna RCMP Street Enforcement Unit was quoted as saying “In communications with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, it has been indicated this may be one of the most significant and perhaps the most sophisticated fentanyl and carfentanil trafficking and exportation enterprises that has been uncovered in Canada to date,”.
Nelson was identified as a darknet vendor by the IRS which linked Nelson to Alphabay market account “FatTuesday_13”. This information was then passed to Canadian Investigators, other countries also provided information. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) started investigating in September 2016 as part of project E-Neophile.
After receiving the report from the IRS, Canadian investigators setup surveillance on Nelson and his Co-conspirator, Cassie Bonthoux. During the surveillance, police regularly observed Bonthoux dropping packages off at the post office. She was also observed buying magazines in bulk, this information helped confirm the link between Nelson and FatTuesday_13.
Investigators bought fentanyl from FatTuesday_13 on Alphabay. Investigators reportedly received fentanyl with magazines used as decoys to hide the fentanyl.
Canadian authorities seized a package of fentanyl addressed to Nelson in November 2016, Nelson placed the FatTuesday_13 account in vacation mode on and never returned to the account on Alphabay. This lead to all investigation stopping until July 2017 when the FatTuesday_13 vendor account was found on darknet market Dream. One month later, a house belonging to Nelson and a Kelowna business was raided by police. During the raids, the police found and recovered 120 grams of fentanyl and carfentanil. Items recovered also included; 19 bitcoins, two guns, 90 Canadian post mailing receipts.
One year after his arrest, the Canadian government opened a 14 count indictment. The indictment included, three firearm related charges, four charges for importing/exporting drugs, six charges for importing and exporting drugs. Six of the charges were stayed by the Crown, including three of the trafficking charges, two of the importing and exporting charges and one firearm charge.
Nelson pleaded guilty in February 2020. he pleaded guilty to trafficking fentanyl on the darknet and possession for the purpose of trafficking. Nelson’s guilty plea lead to the freedom of Bonthoux. The deal required the persecution to drop charges against Bonthoux.Nelson pleads
Nelso pleads guilty to selling drugs on the darknet
Nelson’s sentencing was initially postponed due to covind-19 and he remained out of custody while he waited. With a Apr 22, 2020 press release reading: “Nelson’s two-day sentencing hearing was scheduled in Kelowna court this week, but due to the COVID-19 virus, the hearing was postponed. The pair remain out of custody, and a new sentencing date for Nelson is expected to be scheduled Friday.”
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Nelson to 16 years, but the judge only sentenced him to 11 years in prison. The judge cited Nelson’s willingness to enter a guilty plea and his former opiod addiction where he and Bonthoux spent $10,000 every month on opiods for personal use.
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