SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eric Friccero, 29, of Arbuckle, pleaded guilty today to possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Fricerro, operating under the name “BudgetBudsExpress,” distributed marijuana to customers throughout the United States through darkweb marketplaces. On Jan. 31, 2019, law enforcement officers searched Friccero’s residence and found marijuana that was offered for sale on the darkweb, along with bitcoin and cash.
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, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and IRS Criminal Investigation. The NCIDE Task Force is a federal task force focused on targeting all forms of darkweb and cryptocurrency activity in the Eastern District of California. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.
Friccero is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on Aug. 17. Friccero 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.