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Silk Road 2.0 investigation leads to more drug crime arrests

Selling marijuana on the Internet may be providing a convenient way for some in California and nationwide to purchase pot. However, as federal authorities signaled again on Nov. 20, the activity is decidedly illegal. A married couple was arrested and charged with the drug crime of manufacturing and intending to sell marijuana, along with criminal conspiracy, after federal authorities made a connection between the couple's Internet activities and the so-called "dark web" drug market allegedly occurring on Silk Road 2.0.

They traced the activities back to the couple and to their Northern California home where they allegedly found hundreds of marijuana plants growing. They also say that they traced several packages and intercepted them at a U.P.S. store in Chico. The Silk Road 2.0 site had been shut down earlier this month and its operator arrested.

The authorities say they found 482 marijuana plants, over $12,000, pot seeds and shipping materials. Apparently, authorities have been watching the activities for some time. They allege that the husband, age 54, had mailed over 100 packages, domestically and internationally, from January through September. It's unreported at this time whether the 100 mailings were inspected or known to have marijuana or whether they were simply packages that were mailed.

If the latter is true, then the police appear to be basing the arrest and drug crime charges on the far smaller number of packages allegedly intercepted at the U.P.S. store. The prosecution will have to establish proof on each element of each charge by proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Counsel for each of the two defendants will determine whether all of the minimally required constitutional protections were given to the clients pursuant to federal and California law. The totality of the evidence will be evaluated and the best course for the defense of each will be pursued.

Source: sfgate.com, "Butte County couple ensnared in Silk Road 2.0 drug case", Kale Williams, Nov. 21, 2014

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