El Dorado County man pleads guilty to distributing a designer drug from the dark web that caused the death of a minor
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Elijah Richter, 28, of Camino, pleaded guilty today to distribution of a controlled substance known as 25I-NBOMe that caused death, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux announced.
According to court documents, during September 2012, Richter imported hallucinogenic drugs, including a controlled substance known as 25I-NBOMe, from Europe to his residence in El Dorado County, by placing orders on his computer through Silk Road, a now-defunct “dark” website.
Through Silk Road, Richter was able to use bitcoin currency and an anonymous interface to execute drug deals. Shortly before Sept. 8, 2012, Richter imported a number of doses of 25I‑NBOMe from Europe. He then distributed some to Jesse Roberts, who in turn, distributed some to a juvenile male. The boy took four doses and died as a result of an overdose.
When a search warrant was served at Richter’s home, law enforcement officers recovered 2.61 grams of MDMA (Ecstasy), three digital scales, 3.81 grams of suspected hash oil, 42.25 grams of marijuana, 89 pink colored tabs of suspected 25I-NBOMe on paper, and seven additional tabs of suspected 25I-NBOMe in aluminum foil, as well as a handwritten list of drugs and their proper dosage units. Richter admitted to supplying the hits of 25I-NBOMe that killed the juvenile.
According to the plea agreement, Richter imported doses of 25I-NBOMe for the purpose of distributing that substance to others for human consumption and some of those doses ultimately were distributed to the juvenile in El Dorado County and lead to his overdose death.
The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Roberts. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on March 3, 2017, and sentenced to six years in prison.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The OCDETF Program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Hitt and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.
Richter is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on April 27. Richter faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.