A Washington man pleaded guilty to distributing a wide variety of drugs through the darkweb.
According to court documents, 28-year-old Nicholas Partlow of Issaquah, Washington, distributed fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs through undisclosed darkweb marketplaces. Partlow also admitted to possession of firearms during his drug trafficking operation.
In total, Partlow had more than 400 completed transactions on darkweb marketplaces. Through his darknet sales, Partlow sold an aggregate amount of at least 52 grams of heroin, 13 grams of methamphetamine, 142 pills containing fentanyl, 866 suboxone strips, and 1,513 pills containing other controlled substances. The pills containing fentanyl were counterfeit oxycodone pills.
In 2020, postal inspectors ordered drugs from Partlow’s vendor account on an undisclosed marketplace. Court documents do not reveal the identity of the vendor account Partlow had operated. The drugs ordered by undercover feds included 1 gram of heroin, 4.07 grams of methamphetamine, and 79 pills containing other controlled substances. Feds also intercepted packages Partlow had shipped to his customers. The intercepted packages contained 3.25 grams of heroin, two pills containing fentanyl, 18 suboxone strips, and 1,680 pills containing other controlled substances.
On November 18, 2020, feds executed a federal search warrant at a house in Issaquah, Washington, where Partlow was living. During the search, agents found 21.446 grams of heroin, 27.234 grams of methamphetamine, a bottle of GHB, 27 pills containing fentanyl,
0.859 grams of Ketamine, and 33 pills containing other controlled substances. They also found supplies that Partlow used for selling and shipping drugs, including a scale, U.S. Postal Service envelopes, bags, and vacuum-seal bags. Agents seized five firearms, $4,360 in cash, a Trezor cold storage wallet, jewelry, and several electronic devices.
After the November 18, 2020, search, Partlow knowingly and voluntarily gave law enforcement permission to seize all cryptocurrency funds from any darknet markets associated with him and all cash found in the November 18 search. Approximately 11.219267790574 Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency and 0.0064688 BTC (Bitcoin cryptocurrency) were seized on or about December 11, 2020. Partlow admits that the cash and cryptocurrency funds are, or are traceable to, proceeds from the drug trafficking conspiracy
After the house search on November 18, 2020, Partlow continued to sell drugs to his customers. On March 31, 2021, police in Bellevue, Washington, caught Partlow and an associate using heroin in a parking garage. Partlow possessed 27 counterfeit oxycodone pills, five alprazolam pills, and a drug ledger notebook containing information about his transactions.
Authorities freed Partlow after the March 31, 2021 arrest.
On September 9, 2021, in Renton, Washington, Partlow crashed a car. A federal warrant had already been issued for Partlow’s arrest. When the police showed up at the accident scene, they arrested Partlow. In his possession, the police found 57 pills marked as Xanax, 12 blue pills marked “M30,” and 0.05 grams of methamphetamine. Partlow had a taser in his pocket. He also had a silver, key-shaped LaCie brand computer thumb drive.
On March 7, 2022, the defendant pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances and to possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Partlow agreed to forfeit assets found in his possession, including approximately 11.2192 Monero and 0.0064688 Bitcoin.
On July 1, 2022, Partlow will be sentenced by US District Judge Richard A. Jones in the US District Court in Seattle. He could be sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute drugs and a minimum of five years for the firearms offense.
plea agreement (pdf)