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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 4, 2019

Los Angeles Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Distribute Narcotics on AlphaBay, a Dark Web Marketplace

FRESNO, Calif. — Christopher Michael Barnes, 36, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute narcotics, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Barnes distributed marijuana through the vendor account HumboldtFarms on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay from March 2015 through May 2017. HumboldtFarms was one of the largest vendors on AlphaBay, allegedly completing tens of thousands of orders for marijuana on the site to customers throughout the United States. Barnes’ co-conspirators, William James Farber, Bryan Anthony Lemons, Michael Angelo Palma, Richard Thomas Martinsen, and Faysal Alkhayat have all pleaded guilty in case 1:17‑cr‑188 LJO.

This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Bakersfield Police Department with assistance from the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Ross Pearson are prosecuting the case.

Barnes is scheduled to be sentenced on January 27, 2020. Barnes 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.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
1:19-cr-217-LJO
Updated November 4, 2019