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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ordering Drugs on the “Dark Web” for Resale Results in a Decade in Prison

Vinton Man Ordered Multiple Shipments of Drugs, Including a Shipment of More than a Kilogram of Very Pure Methamphetamine

A man who obtained drugs including methamphetamine and marijuana over the “dark web” was sentenced today to a decade in federal prison.

William Kirk Vanatti, age 36, from Vinton, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 25, 2018, guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Information from the sentencing hearing showed that Vanatti, purchased numerous drugs over the “dark web,” an encrypted network that cannot be found using normal search engines or internet browsers.  Vanatti purchased marijuana, methamphetamine, and MDMA at various times.  Vanatti also began selling methamphetamine to other people.  He eventually ordered more than a kilogram of nearly 100% pure methamphetamine from a source in California intending to sell it to others.  Law enforcement intercepted the package and two other packages containing marijuana before they reached Vanatti.  Law enforcement also conducted searches of Vanatti’s car and home, finding a handgun that Vanatti had carried with him during a drug deal as well as two homemade explosive devices, including one that had staples in it as potential shrapnel. 

Vanatti was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade.  He was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Vanatti is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Drew Inman and Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham.  Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/.  The case file number is 18-CR-27.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated December 19, 2018