On June 9, a Homeland Security Investigations SA arrested an Alphabay vendor in Portland, Oregon. At the time, the vendor, Skylaar D. Ford, was on a post-release supervision program for a previous drug conviction. Despite being subject to the warrantless searches that came with probation and parole, Ford grossed more than one million dollars selling drugs on darknet markets.
In September 2016, Multnomah County Parole and Probation officers conducted a search of Ford’s home. Ford consented to the search but also had little choice under state supervision. PPO officers found 10 pounds of marijuana and the police bureau called the HSI agent for assistance. HSI SA Guy Gino knew about Bitcoin and the darknet, according to the criminal Complaint.
After reading Ford his Miranda rights, Ford explained that he sold marijuana, BHO, and various marijuana related products on Alphabay. The HSI agent wrote that Ford handed over his Alphabay credentials and gave Homeland Security consent to control the vendor account. “As a result, I was able to identify that during the previous 11-months, Ford’s Alphabay vendor account conducted 1,684 sales and grossed more than $1,000,000,” the agent wrote. That concluded his explanation of his prior knowledge of the man.
Multnomah County Parole and Probation officers conducted another house search on June 9. The officers arrested one of Ford’s friends at the house upon the discovery that the friend had an outstanding warrant. Officers also and found 100 grams of heroin. The heroin, according to Ford, belonged to his friend.
HSI SA Gino arrived at the scene and one of the Multnomah County Probation and Parole officers briefed him. Inside, the agent read Ford his Miranda rights and asked if law enforcement could search his entire house. Ford responded with “Sure,” The court document explained. During the house search, one of the officers found a USPS Priority Mail package. The package was sent from his mother in Alaska, according to the return address. It was addressed to “Skylaar Ford and Orbit.”
An officer informed the HSI agent, presumably discreetly, that Ford explained the package was a gift from his mother intended for himself and his girlfriend. Also that it was not to be opened until July 4. When HSI SA Gino asked about the package, Ford said the package was intended for his dog. When officers brought a K-9 unit in, Ford told HSI SA Gino, repeatedly, “You can open it. It’s Molly.”
Upon opening the package, Gino found two bricks of a substance that tested positive for MDMA. They weighed 500 grams in total. In the Criminal Complaint, Gino wrote that he knew, “based upon training and experience, that MDMA is commonly sold in either pill or powder form and an individual dosage of MDMA is measured in milligram quantities.” Furthermore, he continued, “500 grams of MDMA is well beyond a typical user amount and,
from my training and experience, a person possessing 500 grams of MDMA possesses it for purposes of further distribution.”
The agent asked Ford about the MDMA and Ford revealed that he started selling on Alphabay again. Ford said that he ordered “molly” from the Netherlands and shipped it to his friend in Alaska. His friend in Alaska packaged the product for distribution and then shipped the MDMA to Ford.
Ford gave the agent the credentials to his second Alphabay account that he opened in November. HSI SA Gino confirmed that since November 16, 2016, the vendor account completed 531 MDMA transactions. Officers arrested Ford and took him to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The 22-year-old was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams of MDMA.
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