A federal grand jury has indicted three Los Angeles residents with running an international drug ring that sold methamphetamine and other illegal narcotics on the dark web.
Michael Alan Goldberg, Donnica Mae Rabulan and James Caleb Kueker were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and substantive drug trafficking offenses.
It is alleged that they bought the narcotics on the dark web then shipped them to their foreign buyers in Poland, New Zealand, the Philippines and other destinations.
According to the eight-count indictment issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Central District of California, Goldberg was the alleged leader of the drug ring.
Authorities say he ran the operation even after he was taken into federal custody in June of last year.
He was apprehended and sentenced to 42 months in federal prison on a fraud case not related to this conspiracy.
Rabulan, who is Goldberg’s wife, faces conspiracy charges as well as four counts of distributing methamphetamine as an accomplice to the operation.
She was arraigned in court earlier this month on this charge, where she pleaded not guilty. Her case is expected to go on trial on June 4.
Kueker, another alleged accomplice to the operation, is charged with possessing a firearm in facilitating a drug trafficking crime and possession with the intent to distribute ketamine.
Like Rabulan, he also entered a not guilty plea after being arraigned in court.
The Drug Ring’s Operation
The trio’s activities came to light in May 2018, after a security manager of a shipping company in Van Nuys came across suspicious parcels destined for the Philippines.
Conferring on to an affidavit filed, federal authorities were able to seize seven parcels, all containing approximately 21 kilograms (or 46 pounds) of methamphetamine.
Law enforcement was able to link the phone numbers in the parcels’ contact information to Goldberg.
During subsequent investigations, search warrants were executed which led to the discovery of clandestine drug labs at Kueker’s homes in Valley Village and Hollywood Hills.
Federal agents also seized a loaded AK-47 rifle in one of the houses. Additionally, more than $150,000 was also recovered from a safe deposit box registered to Kueker.
Court documents allege the stash was revenue from the drug sales.
Court documents indicate that Goldberg and Rabulan handled the shipping process, while Kueker was in charge of collecting the proceeds on behalf of Goldberg.
Prosecutors have stated the trio used Bitcoin to buy the narcotics via the dark web.
In total, the three defendants have allegedly made around 59 overseas shipments of methamphetamine and other illicit drugs to buyers.
If convicted on all counts, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison or a compulsory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy charge.
Kueker also faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison for possessing a firearm for drug trafficking purposes.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Goldberg faces one count of intentionally distributing methamphetamine.