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Press Release

Hickory Man Is Sentenced To Nine Years For Trafficking Narcotics On The Dark Web

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced today that Travis Justin Stout, 36, of Hickory, N.C., was sentenced to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release for drug trafficking conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute narcotics on the Dark Web. The sentencing was held on Thursday, August 6, 2020.

Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas, Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which oversees Charlotte, and Chief Thurman Whisnant of the Hickory Police Department join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to information contained in filed court documents and the sentencing hearing, in 2016, law enforcement began investigating Stout for trafficking narcotics in the greater Hickory area.  Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement determined that Stout was purchasing narcotics, including MDMA (Ecstasy), methamphetamine, amphetamine, and marijuana, on the Dark Web, using various forms of cryptocurrency.  Court records show that Stout also used the Dark Web to traffic narcotics throughout the United States and internationally, including on the AlphaBay Market, and stored the drug proceeds in multiple virtual currency wallets. Stout trafficked narcotics from the Netherlands and Belgium, among other locations, in this conspiracy.

In handing down Stout’s sentence, Judge Bell stated this was an extremely sophisticated international drug trafficking case, involving the Dark Web, and noted this sentence will deter others from completing similar sophisticated Dark Web crimes.

Stout is currently in custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanked HSI in Charlotte, USPIS, and the Hickory Police Department for their investigation on this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sanjeev Bhasker and Seth Johnson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.


Updated August 7, 2020

Drug Trafficking