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South Dakota Man Avoids Jail in Heroin Importation Case

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Viken sentenced a South Dakota man to time served after he pleaded guilty to importing heroin and fentanyl purchased on the darkweb

Nathan Reuer, 26, of Rapid City according to court records began ordering drugs on the darkweb in February 2018. The defendant’s activities were discovered and put to an end in February 2019 following an investigation led by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

In late December 2018 and early January 2019, the investigators seized four packages addressed to the defendant. Three of the packages tested positive for fentanyl while the fourth one tested positive for methamphetamine.

“This is not the primary means for people in our area to obtain illegal drugs, but I would still consider it to be a common way for some people to obtain them,” Taylor Sperle, a Pennington County sheriff’s sergeant.

On January 23, 2019, authorities executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home. The search led to the seizure of 800 grams of “a synthetic substances similar to MDMA”, a scale, unidentified pills, steroids, needles, droppers, and mailing materials. The officers also recovered five kilograms of kratom.

The investigators also found a PC in one of the defendant’s rooms with the Tor Browser open. Analysis of the PC led to the discovery of four bitcoin wallets.

A sample of the defendant’s urine was subsequently taken and tested. The urine tested positive for methamphetamine, THC, and unspecified opiates.

CBP officers reportedly continued intercepting addressed to the defendant even after the search. The last package arrived in February 2019 from Canada and carried an undisclosed quantity of fentanyl-laced heroin.

Reuer was charged with importation of controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin. His detention hearing took place on February 4 2019 and the judge ruled that he be detained pending trial. The defendant’s appeal to the ruling was denied.

Reuer pleaded guilty to two counts of importation of heroin and fentanyl in February 2020.

On June 4, the defendant was sentenced to a prison sentence equal to time served in pre-trial detention, three years of supervised release, restitution, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.