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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Dark web fentanyl dealer sentenced to 7 years in prison

Made more than 2,300 sales of fentanyl on dark web sites AlphaBay and Dream Market

Seattle – A 40-year-old Seattle man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to seven years in prison for selling thousands of doses of fentanyl on various encrypted websites, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  MATTHEW WITTERS was a leading seller of fentanyl on AlphaBay and Dream Market between 2015 and 2017.  In December 2018, law enforcement seized $1.1 million in cryptocurrency, cash and other funds WITTERS admitted were the proceeds of his drug trafficking.  At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour ordered forfeiture of those funds, and noted WITTERS sold “an enormous quantity of an extremely dangerous drug.”

“Fentanyl traffickers, who put their profits ahead of public safety, justifiably face significant federal prison sentences,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  “Trafficking in these substances endangers not only the end-user, but innocent bystanders such as postal workers or family members who might come in contact with the highly toxic substance.”

According to records filed in the case, WITTERS came to the attention of law enforcement when his contact information and dark web monikers were discovered in residences connected with drug trafficking in Oklahoma and California.  WITTERS’ sales on AlphaBay ended when law enforcement shut-down the site in July 2017.

WITTERS was arrested December 10, 2018, and the following day law enforcement executed a search warrant for a safe deposit box WITTERS leased in a Shoreline, Washington bank.  Inside was more than $165,000 in currency, a variety of suspected controlled substances, mailing labels and stamps and a loaded Glock 27 pistol.

WITTERS has been in custody since his arrest. On June 13, 2019, WITTERS pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Prosecutors agreed to cap their sentencing recommendation at ten years in prison.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Neal B. Christiansen and Thomas M. Woods.

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov
Updated December 17, 2019