SANTA ANA, California – A former professional skateboarder was sentenced today to 97 months in federal prison for selling nearly two pounds of methamphetamine and laundering Bitcoin for the dark-web operations of other drug traffickers.
Evan Jaime Hernandez, 35, of Long Beach, was sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter.
Hernandez pleaded guilty in June 2021 to one count of distribution of methamphetamine and one count of laundering of monetary instruments.
According to court documents, from at least March 2018 to March 2019, Hernandez distributed narcotics, conspiring with drug dealers to distribute the controlled substances over one of the world’s largest dark-net marketplaces.
Hernandez not only supplied drugs that were sold over the dark-net by drug dealers such as William Glarner IV, 36, of Irvine, but he also distributed drugs on his own. Glarner pleaded guilty in June 2019 to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and is serving a 10-year prison sentence for that offense.
In March 2018, Hernandez sold approximately 895 grams (1.97 pounds) of methamphetamine for $5,000 to an individual whom he thought was a money launderer, but who was working with federal law enforcement at the time.
Hernandez also was responsible for laundering Bitcoin for dark-net drug trafficking operations. Hernandez utilized the services of an individual – the same one working with law enforcement – to exchange Bitcoin into cash. Hernandez conducted four Bitcoin-to-cash transactions with the individual, including the exchange of approximately 7.95 Bitcoin for $50,000 in September 2018. By using cryptocurrency and an unlicensed exchanger to liquidate the proceeds, Hernandez intended to conceal the source and ownership of the drug proceeds.
In total, Hernandez conducted four Bitcoin-to-cash exchanges that totaled approximately $171,300.
In March 2019, law enforcement conducted a search warrant of a location controlled by one of Hernandez’s drug dealing associates, where agents found 10 vacuum-sealed bags in United States Postal Service and Federal Express envelopes, as well as four separate vacuum-sealed bags and one gallon-size freezer bag. During this search, agents recovered approximately 6.7 kilograms (14.8 pounds) of methamphetamine that Hernandez distributed and which would have been used to fill orders placed on the dark-net.
“[Hernandez] was involved in a highly sophisticated drug trafficking operation, where he personally took on various roles to ensure its success: obtaining multiple types of narcotics, selling them directly to customers, and laundering money on the backend in a sophisticated manner,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Hernandez has been ordered to forfeit to the government a 2010 Mercedes-Benz, approximately $35,000 in cash, and various watches, necklaces, rings and other jewelry.
Homeland Security Investigations investigated this matter. The Costa Mesa Police Department, the La Habra Police Department, the Brea Police Department and the Cypress Police Department assisted with the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Kathy Yu of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.