Three defendants admitted they played part in the sale and distribution of psychedelic mushroom analogues through the darkweb.
The defendants, 44-year-old James Verl Barlow, of Las Vegas, 35-year-old Matthew Taylor Barlow, and 42-year-old Jennifer Helen Campbell, both of Utah, admitted they had conspired with three others in the sale of kilograms of psychedelic mushroom analogues via various darkweb marketplaces under the usernames TripWithScience and PerfectShrooms.
In addition to powdered mushroom analogues, the vendors sold liquid psychedelic mushrooms in nine-milligram vials for approximately $20 each. The defendants operated the accounts from at least November 2013 to April 2021. They distributed 315 kilograms of powdered mushrooms and 3,200 kilograms of liquid mushrooms.
The investigation that resulted in the successful conviction of all three defendants began after law enforcement officers caught an Ohio resident who had purchased liquid mushrooms from TripWithScience.
The investigators established that TripWithScience had operated on a host of darkweb marketplaces, including Monopoly, Televend, Empire Market, Dream Market, and Dark Market. Further investigations revealed that James Barlow owned the TripWithScience and PerfectShrooms vendor accounts.
Barlow had recruited his co-defendants and tasked them with processing orders he received from buyers from all over the United States and Europe. Matthew Barlow and Campbell mixed the liquid mushrooms and shipped them to co-defendants tasked with packaging the drugs and shipping them to their respective buyers.
Each of the defendants was charged with one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a psychedelic mushroom analogue.
James Barlow and Matthew Barlow admitted guilt on November 23, while Campbell pleaded guilty on November 22.
James Barlow also pleaded guilty to money laundering and agreed to forfeit approximately $15 million in cash and assets he acquired from the sale of the mushrooms. The items he is set to forfeit include millions of dollars in cryptocurrency, more than $500,000 in cash, a Tesla, and land worth more than $1.5 million.
Each of the defendants could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison on an undisclosed date.
The trio’s co-defendants Tony Du Phan of Tennessee, Ronald Royal Edward Brust, and Monet L. Carriere both of Las Vegas have not yet entered their pleas.