Dark Web Vendor Sentenced To 7 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, Cocaine, and Buprenorphine

Greenbelt, Maryland – On August 13, 2018, U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Cory Nicholas Skinner, age 33, of Pikesville, Maryland, to seven years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams of more of heroin as well as quantities of cocaine and buprenorphine.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; and Postal Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division.

According to his plea agreement, while investigating the death of a University of Arkansas police officer, a detective with the Conway (Arkansas) Police Department found an opened Priority Mail package shipped from Baltimore, Maryland, under the decedent’s head (the “Arkansas package”).

During the investigation of the Arkansas package, Postal Inspectors identified two other Priority Mail packages purchased in the same transaction and destined for addresses in North Carolina (the “North Carolina package”) and Arizona (the “Arizona package”), that were related to the Arkansas package.  The recipient of the North Carolina package told investigators that he used Bitcoin to purchase heroin from DoggFood, an online vendor on the dark web.  The North Carolina package contained approximately 2.8 grams of heroin, and the Arizona package contained approximately four buprenorphine units.  Fingerprints found on both packages belonged to Skinner.    

During their surveillance of Skinner between September 2017 and January 2018, Postal Inspectors intercepted over 20 packages containing a total of approximately 47.5 grams of heroin and 81 buprenorphine units that Skinner sent through the United States mail.  Additionally, Postal Inspectors discovered that Skinner did not act alone to distribute controlled substances through the mail.  Instead, Skinner used individuals that he knew were unusually vulnerable due to a physical or mental condition to drop off packages containing heroin and cocaine at Baltimore post offices in July 2017 and August 2017, respectively.

By January 2018, Skinner had sold approximately 290.5 grams of heroin, 97.5 grams of cocaine, and 216 units of buprenorphine as the dark web vendor DoggFood. 

When officers searched Skinner’s residence, they found the laptop he used to run the dark web vendor DoggFood, printed labels, approximately $6,600 in cash, plastic baggies, a digital scale, heat and bag sealers, a large amount of Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipping supplies, $23.75 in postal stamps, a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm firearm, and 12 rounds of Luger 9mm ammunition. 

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division, which led the investigation, and the Postal Inspectors in other field divisions that provided assistance—including the Charlotte, San Francisco, Seattle, and Phoenix Divisions, as well as the Fort Worth Division – Little Rock Domicile, and the National Headquarters Cyber Crimes Unit—for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur recognized the Conway (Arkansas) Police Department; the Brunswick County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office; the Baltimore County Police Department; the Maryland State Police; and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Baltimore and Raleigh Field Offices for their contributions in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Samika N. Boyd, who prosecuted the case.

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