California Man Charged in Fentanyl Distribution, Money Laundering Conspiracy
Alleged large-scale Dark Web fentanyl dealer apprehended in Thailand and brought to South Dakota to face charges
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a California man has been indicted for his role in a large-scale opioid distribution conspiracy involving the shipment of approximately 100,000 synthetic analogue fentanyl pills to South Dakota, and as many as 2.6 million fentanyl pills nationwide.
Damon Vincent Jobin, age 34, of Huntington Beach, California, was indicted on October 23, 2018, by a federal grand jury in South Dakota for conspiracy to distribute over 100 grams of a fentanyl analogue and money laundering. Jobin, along with other co-conspirators, utilized the Dark Web to distribute approximately 100,000 pills that contained fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue in 2017 to individuals either suspected or convicted of distributing the pills in Chamberlain, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Twenty thousand of these pills were seized from the U.S. Mail by law enforcement in South Dakota. The pills tested positive for cyclopropyl fentanyl, a fentanyl analogue or derivative. The investigation revealed that, in all, Jobin mailed approximately 200 packages containing over 2.6 million fentanyl or fentanyl analogue pills to addresses in 32 different states. Based on records kept by Jobin, the total weight of the pills exceeded 259 kilograms. Experts estimate that one kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to produce approximately one million fatal doses. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
“The public should know that our dedicated law enforcement partners are doing everything possible to work up the chains of illegal drug distribution and bring the criminals who are profiting from human suffering by shipping these poisons into South Dakota, or anywhere else, to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons.
In the indictment, Jobin is also accused of laundering over $130,000 in U.S. Currency converted from Bitcoin proceeds he received for pressing and shipping the illegal drugs.
Following his indictment, Jobin was arrested in Los Angeles, California, on November 29, 2018. He appeared before the Honorable Karen L. Stevenson, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California, who released him on a $25,000 appearance bond and ordered him to appear in the District of South Dakota for his arraignment in February 2019.
In early 2019, Jobin fled the United States in an apparent attempt to avoid prosecution. A federal warrant was issued for his arrest. He was apprehended in Thailand, taken into the custody of the Royal Thai Police on June 7, 2019, and transported back to the United States from Thailand by U.S. Marshals from the District of South Dakota.
“It doesn’t matter where in the world you try to hide,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons. “The United States Marshals will find you and bring you back.”
Upon landing in Seattle in the custody of the Marshals, Jobin was formally arrested on his outstanding warrant and appeared on July 15, 2019, before the Honorable Brian A. Tsuchida, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Washington, who ordered him detained. Jobin was then ordered to be transferred to the District of South Dakota to face his pending charges.
On August 7, 2019, Jobin made his initial appearance in Sioux Falls in the District of South Dakota, before the Honorable Veronica L. Duffy, U.S. Magistrate Judge. He pleaded not guilty, was detained, and was placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial.
The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a potential maximum penalty of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Western Cyber Crimes Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of State, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Costa Mesa Police Department, and the Chamberlain Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer D. Mammenga is prosecuting the case.
The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.