Baltimore,Maryland – Cory Nicholas Skinner, age 32, of Pikesville, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams of more of heroin as well as quantities of cocaine and buprenorphine.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; and Postal Inspector in Charge Robert B. Wemyss of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division.
According to his plea agreement, while investigating the death of a University of Arkansas police officer, a detective with the Conway (Arkansas) Police Department found an opened Priority Mail package shipped from Baltimore, Maryland, under the decedent’s head (the “Arkansas Package”).
During the United States Postal Inspection Service investigation of the Arkansas Package, Maryland postal inspectors learned about a Priority Mail package destined for a North Carolina address (the “North Carolina Package”) and another headed to an Arizona address (the “Arizona Package”) that they had identified in connection with the Arkansas Package. The recipient of the North Carolina Package told investigators that he used bitcoin to purchase heroin from DoggFood, an online vendor, on the Dream Market, a site on the dark web. The North Carolina Package contained approximately 2.8 grams of heroin, and the Arizona Package contained approximately four buprenorphine units. Fingerprints found on the packages belonged to Skinner.
During their surveillance of Skinner between September 2017 and January 2018, Maryland postal inspectors intercepted over 20 packages containing controlled substances that Skinner sent through the United States mail. The approximate aggregate drug weights were 47.5 grams of heroin and 81 buprenorphine units.
Additionally, Maryland postal inspectors discovered that Skinner did not act alone when distributing controlled substances through the United States mail. Instead, Skinner, knowing that certain individuals were unusually vulnerable due to a physical or mental condition, involved those individuals in dropping off packages containing heroin and cocaine at Baltimore post offices in July 2017 and August 2017, respectively.
By January 2018, Skinner had sold approximately 290.5 grams of heroin, 97.5 grams of cocaine, and 216 units of buprenorphine as the dark web vendor DoggFood on the Dream Market.
When officers searched Skinner’s residence, they found the laptop he used to run the dark web vendor DoggFood on the Dream Market, printed labels, approximately $6,600 in cash, plastic baggies, a digital scale, heat and bag sealers, a large amount of Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipping supplies, $23.75 in postal stamps, a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm firearm, and 12 rounds of Luger 9mm ammunition.
Skinner faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison with a statutory mandatory minimum 5-year term of imprisonment. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for August 13, 2018 at 11:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division, which led the investigation, and the Postal Inspectors in other field divisions that provided assistance—including the Charlotte, San Francisco, Seattle, and Phoenix Divisions, as well as the Fort Worth Division – Little Rock Domicile, and the National Headquarters Cyber Crimes Unit—for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur recognized the Conway (Arkansas) Police Department; the Brunswick County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office; the Baltimore County Police Department;the Maryland State Police; and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Baltimore and Raleigh Field Offices for their contributions in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Samika N. Boyd, who is prosecuting the case.