Rancho Cordova Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Sell Narcotics Through Social Media
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nathan Paul Barnes, 24, of Rancho Cordova, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute narcotics, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Barnes operated a drug distribution enterprise called “Fine Cali Herb” that used various social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat. Barnes sold 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.
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 U.S. 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.
Barnes is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge John A. Mendez on Jan. 14, 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.