HomeCity NewsDarknet Drug Ring Suspect Receives 10-Year Sentence

Darknet Drug Ring Suspect Receives 10-Year Sentence

By City News Service

A Glendale man was sentenced on May 14 to 10 years in federal prison for participating in a darknet-based organization known as “NoLove” that trafficked methamphetamine and ecstasy both inside and outside of the United States and for laundering the outfit’s proceeds by exchanging bitcoin into U.S. dollars.
Arbi Setaghaian Sangbarani, 41, was sentenced in downtown Los Angeles by U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr., according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Sangbarani was convicted in December of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. The jury also found Sangbarani guilty of one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of money laundering.
From at least April 2019 to May 2020, Sangbarani belonged to a darknet drug trafficking organization that sold, packaged, and mailed methamphetamine and MDMA to numerous customers in the United States and internationally, prosecutors said.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Sangbarani and his co-conspirators obtained methamphetamine and MDMA from various sources, stored methamphetamine and MDMA to be packaged at a residence in the Sunland-Tujunga area of Los Angeles, managed the sales of meth and MDMA on the dark web in exchange for virtual currency; and packaged meth and MDMA for distribution to customers who ordered those drugs on the darknet.
Sangbarani and his co-conspirators would then mail parcels containing meth and MDMA to customers who ordered the drugs on the dark web. Sangbarani also conspired to launder the illicit proceeds of the drug ring, with an accomplice collecting bitcoin as proceeds from the sale of drugs on the dark web, then transferring a portion of those virtual currency proceeds to Sangbarani, prosecutors said.
Sangbarani exchanged the bitcoin into U.S. dollars, transferred the dollars to his bank account, and withdrew the proceeds as cash.
This case marks the first time the government has introduced evidence involving cryptocurrency tracing for dark web markets in a jury trial in the Central District, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
In February 2020, law enforcement seized about 6,701 suspected MDMA pills and roughly 48.9 pounds of methamphetamine from a shed at the Sunland-Tujunga property, federal prosecutors said.
In total, eight people have been convicted in the case.

First published in the May 18 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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