California Men Sentenced For Internet Drug Trafficking
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida
Orlando, FL – U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza today sentenced Julian Villa-Gomez Lemus (32, Visalia, CA) and Fadhle Muqbel Saeed (31, Porterville, CA) for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. For their respective roles in the conspiracy, Lemus was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and Saeed was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months’ imprisonment. A third co-defendant, Alfonso Bojorquez-Vazquez (30, Porterville, CA), was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in federal prison for the same offense on March 27, 2016. As part of Saeed’s sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $1.9 million, the proceeds of the drug conspiracy.
Saeed and Bojorquez-Vazquez previously pleaded guilty. Lemus proceeded to trial and was found guilty by a jury on January 4, 2017.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial and sentencing, between May 2012 and March 2015, Saeed, Lemus and Bojorquez-Vazquez conspired to distribute drugs over the Internet using illicit online drug marketplaces such as Silk Road and Evolution Marketplace. These marketplaces were websites where individuals could buy and sell drugs anonymously. Payment for Silk Road transactions were conducted using Bitcoin, a semi-anonymous electronic form of payment, which allowed users to purchase drugs without disclosing their financial information or identity. The conspirators used the pseudonym “darkexpresso” to conduct over 1,300 Silk Road drug transactions, resulting in gross proceeds of over $1.9 million. These transactions included methamphetamine, hydrocodone, marijuana, steroids, cocaine, and other controlled substances. The drugs were concealed using various methods, and sent to purchasers throughout the United States and Australia.
After law enforcement officials shut down and seized the Silk Road website, Saeed and Bojorquez-Vazquez continued the operation on the Evolution Marketplace. Undercover DEA agents contacted Saeed and Bojorquez-Vazquez on the website and purchased a total of approximately 96 hydrocodone pills and approximately 473 grams of methamphetamine from them over the course of several online transactions.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vincent S. Chiu and Alejandro J. Salicrup.
Updated December 12, 2017