United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Huntington Beach, California, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Fentanyl Analogue and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering was sentenced on September 14, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.
Damon Vincent Jobin, age 35, was sentenced to 292 months in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, for Conspiracy to Distribute a Fentanyl Analogue, and 240 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, all to run concurrently. Jobin was also ordered to pay a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $200.
Jobin was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 28, 2018. He was arrested in Los Angeles on November 29, 2018. Jobin was ordered to appear before the magistrate court in the District of South Dakota on February 11, 2019, but in an apparent attempt to evade prosecution, fled to Thailand. A federal warrant was issued for his arrest. He eventually was apprehended in Thailand, taken into the custody of the Royal Thai Police on June 7, 2019, and transported back to the United States from Thailand by U.S. Marshals from the District of South Dakota.
Jobin pled guilty to the charges in the Indictment on June 24, 2020.
Jobin, along with other co-conspirators, utilized the Dark Web to distribute approximately 100,000 pills that they had manufactured containing fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue in 2017 to South Dakota drug dealers either suspected or convicted of distributing the pills in Chamberlain, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls. Twenty thousand of these pills were seized from the U.S. Mail by law enforcement in South Dakota. The pills tested positive for cyclopropyl fentanyl, a fentanyl analogue or derivative.
The investigation revealed that, in all, Jobin manufactured and mailed approximately 200 packages containing over 2.6 million fentanyl or fentanyl analogue pills to addresses in 32 different states. Jobin himself would press over 16,000 pills per hour at the height of the organization’s manufacturing. Based on records kept by Jobin, the total weight of the pills he and other co-conspirators made and distributed exceeded 259 kilograms. Experts estimate that one kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to produce approximately one million fatal doses. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
“This defendant was selling millions of poisonous, home-pressed fentanyl pills to people all over the country,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons. “He was caught because of some great police work done right here in South Dakota. This case demonstrates the dramatic, national impact that federal, state, and local law enforcement, working together, can have in getting these poisons off the streets. The detective work done by these law enforcement officers saved a lot of lives.”
Jobin and his coconspirators also used online cryptocurrency exchanges to launder the funds derived from the sale of the cyclopropyl fentanyl on the Dark Web. Jobin was estimated to be making between $25,000 and $35,000 per week for his involvement in the conspiracy. Judge Schreier noted that this was the largest fentanyl conspiracy case she has seen in her courtroom to date.
“Today’s sentencing is another step towards combating the opioid epidemic fueled by the distribution of illicitly manufactured fentanyl,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. “The financial expertise of IRS-CI plays a vital role in capturing offenders by following the money that facilitates the drug trade. We are proud to work alongside our law enforcement partners to protect America’s taxpayers by taking traffickers of dangerous drugs off the streets.”
“This investigation reflects the successful teamwork between the United States Postal Inspection Service and our law enforcement partners with bringing to justice those who use the dark net and the U.S. mail to distribute illegal narcotics. Postal Inspectors have been at the forefront of dark net investigations for years, bringing to justice those who use the U.S. mail to distribute illegal narcotics behind the dark net’s false veil of anonymity. We continue to challenge the anonymous nature of the dark net, proving you are never truly anonymous,” stated Ruth Mendonça, Inspector in Charge of the Denver Division, of the United States Postal Inspection Service, covering the State of South Dakota.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Western Cyber Crimes Unit, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of State, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Costa Mesa Police Department, and the Chamberlain Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer D. Mammenga prosecuted the case.
Jobin was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.