A dark web vendor, John Frank Naber III, 21, from Kentucky has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for drug trafficking charges, money laundering charges, and owning firearms as a prohibited person.
The announcement was made by the acting United States Attorney Michael A. Bennett for the Western District of Kentucky. United States District Judge Benjamin J. Beaton sentenced John to 132 months in prison. John pleaded guilty to all three charges in December 2020.
A Postal Inspector with the United States Postal Investigation Service (USPIS), Joshua Smith, filed a criminal complaint in he early months of 2019 identifying John as a darkweb drug vendor.
Several agencies, were involved in the investigation into John. They include:
- United States Postal Investigation Service (USPIS)
- Homeland Security Investigations Service (HSI)
- Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI)
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
- Kentucky State Police.
The criminal complaint against John lacked in specific information, but it described an investigation that relied on conventional investigative techniques, like local informants and surveillance.
Many packages associated with John were inspected by authorities who monitored them for several months prior to the filing of the criminal complaint. According to the complaint:
Investigators also gathered information about John’s financial transactions, physical movements, daily habits, and associations that further corroborated their suspicions that Naber was involved in drug trafficking activities.
Several witnesses in Kentucky provided statements that accused John of selling drugs locally and through the dark web. Investigators said that witnesses told them that John sold an assortment of drugs but his primary drug was Adderall, which he sold to buyers throughout the United States.
In the course of the investigation, law enforcement obtained search warrants for two properties in Kentucky that were associated with John. The following items were recovered from the first property:
- 1000 grams of methamphetamine
- USPS parcels
- Multiple firearms
- Other drugs
- An automated pill press
- Raw ingredients to be pressed into pills
- Plastic bags containing counterfeit Adderall
- Marijuana derived products
- U.S. currency
- Counterfeit U.S. currency
The search warrant on the second property resulted in the discovery and seizure of the following items:
- A Pringles can with a false bottom container with suspected MDMA packaged in multiple bindles
- A cryptocurrency wallet seed, i.e. passphrases for access
- A Digital scale
- A cutting agent in the manufacturing of narcotics
Investigators monitored John’s financial records and they learned that he was participating in a money-laundering conspiracy in partnership with his mother. They layered John’s funds in an effort to conceal the true source of the funds. John and his mother utilized Coinbase.com in an attempt to further launder the proceeds of drug trafficking.
Additionally, John is accused of structuring financial transactions. Successful structuring requires transactions that look like they were not structured. The transactions ranged from $9,000 to $9,900 and the structuring attempts were poorly executed. John did not enter a guilty plea for the structuring charges.
John must also forfeit the following:
- A Property located at 929 Brentwood Ave Louisville, Kentucky 40026
- Real property located at 10415 West Highway 42, Goshen, Kentucky 40026
- $326,703.00 in United States Dollars
- $200,000.00 in Bitcoin
- A Desert Eagle semi-automatic handgun
- A Beretta pistol
- A Kimber Micro 9 pistol
- An American Tactical 1911 pistol
- CZ 805 BREN assault rifle