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Press Release

Two Darknet Vendors Plead Guilty to Trafficking Fentanyl and Other Illegal Drugs

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

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Phoenix, Arizona, couple pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute multiple controlled substances including heroin, methamphetamine, and para-fluorofentanyl over the darknet.

According to court documents, from approximately January 2021 through May 2023, Cheerish Noel Taylor, 36, and Robert James Fischer, 35, ran the darknet monikers “SafeServe,” “Sky_HIGH,” and others across multiple darknet markets. On these markets, the co-conspirators advertised and sold various controlled substances, including crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, Xanax, Adderall, suboxone, and counterfeit pills that the conspirators advertised as oxycodone but that instead were laced with para-fluorofentanyl, a dangerous fentanyl analogue. During the course of the conspiracy, the conspirators made over 1,100 sales of controlled substances over the darknet using these accounts.

The darknet, also called the darkweb, is a portion of the Internet that hosts darknet markets, or hidden commercial websites. A darknet market operates as a black market, selling or brokering transactions involving legal products, as well as drugs, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other illicit goods.

Fischer and Taylor sold counterfeit oxycodone pills, which they marketed as “pressed m30s” and “blues,” knowing that they did not contain oxycodone, and instead contained fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue. Within the product description for the purported “blues,” the defendant’s darknet vendor page on the site ASAP Market stated that “These are not reg M30s they are PRESSED and are very strong…seasoned users only please.” In another listing for the purported “blues,” the defendants advertised “small fine print: these are NOT from a pharmacy they are PRESSED from Mexico. Seasoned users Only because these are strong AF not for those who are freshly using.”

Fischer and Taylor sold other drugs on the darknet that they advertised as being legitimate, pharmaceutically, produced drugs. For example, the two sold what they described as “pharmaceutical Adderall’ for over $13 per pill.

The two shipped controlled substances nationwide through the United States Postal Service, and attempted to disguise the controlled substances within packages amidst dollar-store goods, such as children’s stickers, beads, birthday cards, and seasonal gift items. At times, the controlled substances were hidden inside of toy packaging.

Taylor is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8. She faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison. Fischer is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2024. He also faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and Damon E. Wood, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Call is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:23-cr-112.

Updated August 25, 2023

Drug Trafficking