Three defendants plead guilty in dark web drug sales case

 

Date: November 23, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

COLUMBUS, OH — Three of six defendants charged this spring with selling liquid psychedelic mushrooms online to customers all over the country have pleaded guilty in federal court in Columbus.

James Verl Barlow, of Las Vegas, and Matthew Taylor Barlow, of Murray, Utah, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today and Jennifer Helen Cambpell, also of Murray, Utah, admitted her guilt yesterday. Each of the three defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute a psychedelic mushroom analogue. James Barlow also pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder the drug proceeds.

According to James Barlow's court documents, as part of his guilty plea, he will forfeit approximately $15 million in drug proceeds and property, including millions of dollars' worth of cryptocurrency, more than half a million dollars in cash, a 2016 Tesla Model-X Wagon, and land in Brighton, Colorado, valued at more than $1.5 million, as part of this case.

Between November 2013 and April 2021, the defendants sold liquid psychedelic mushrooms in nine milligram vials for approximately $20 each on the darknet through the monikers TRIPWITHSCIENCE and PERFECTSHROOMS. Court documents detail that at least one customer was located in Columbus.

James Barlow used individuals in Nevada, Utah and Maryland to arrange shipments of both powder and liquid mushrooms from Las Vegas, Memphis, and Gulf Breeze, Florida, to customers throughout the United States and Europe.

In total, the investigation by the Central Ohio Cyber Drug Task Force determined Barlow's organization was responsible for distributing 315 kilograms of powder mushroom analogues and 3,200 kilograms of liquid mushrooms.

The defendants face up to 20 years in prison. Congress sets the maximum statutory sentence. Sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the Court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation; Keith Martin, Special Agent in Charge, DEA; Vance Callender, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Lesley C. Allison, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); and Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin announced the pleas entered into before U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison. Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Hunter is representing the United States in this case.