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Press Release

Tattoo Shop Owner Sentenced to More Than 7 Years in Prison for Distributing Heroin and Methamphetamine on the Dark Web

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jason Keith Arnold, 46, of Chandler, Arizona, was sentenced today to seven years and three months in prison for conspiring to distribute heroin and methamphetamine on the dark web, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Arnold, along with co-defendants David White, 50, and Alicia McCoy, 31, both of Chandler, operated the vendor accounts “TheSickness” and “SicknessVersion2” on Dream Marketplace. Dream Marketplace was a website on an encrypted part of the internet known as the “dark web” because it is only accessible via sophisticated encryption technology and is not visible to normal search engines such as Google. The encrypted nature of Dream Marketplace provided individuals such as Arnold—who previously owned tattoo parlors in Arizona—with relative anonymity to sell narcotics and other illegal goods and services over the internet.

Through his dark web accounts, Arnold and his co-conspirators conducted thousands of transactions for illegal drugs, including “pure gun powder heroin” and “uncut” methamphetamine. The conspirators used the U.S. Postal Service and other shippers to send these drugs from Chandler to customers throughout the country in packages purporting to contain candy. Arnold and his co-conspirators accepted payment for these narcotics in cryptocurrency, and accounts associated with the conspiracy grossed more than $350,000 during the time that “TheSickness” and “SicknessVersion2” were operational.

On Feb. 17, 2022, White was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Charges against McCoy are pending. The charges are only allegations; she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE) Task Force, which includes agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The NCIDE Task Force is a federal task force focused on targeting all forms of illicit dark web and cryptocurrency activity in the Eastern District of California and beyond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Stefanki prosecuted the case.

Updated November 15, 2022

Drug Trafficking