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Rancho Cordova Nurse Arrested for Plot to Sell Opioids over the Darknet

Federal agents have arrested a female nurse from Rancho Cordova, California, for selling prescription opioids on the dark web. Carrie Alaine Markis ran an online pharmacy, known as Farmacy41, where she sold over 20,000 opioid pills to people all over the country.

According to evidence shared in court, Markis communicated with her customers online through private messages. She informed them that she obtained the narcotics from people who were authorized by doctors to take the drugs as prescription medication but instead sold them to boost their income. She also told her customers that she named the platform Farmacy41 because she was 41-years-old at the time, and her cover business sold products called Nutritive Vitamins.

A criminal complaint against Markis showed evidence from computer records that she had sold thousands of narcotic pills on three different darknet sites, making hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoin . Farmacy41 first began operating on Pandora market in December 2013 and continued through August 2014. Numerous drugs had been sold including more than 2,000 oxycodone tabs, more than 2,500 hydrocodone tabs, more than 300 morphine tabs, 32 patches of fentanyl, and many other prescription drugs. According to court records, Farmacy41 made about 400 sales worth 206 bitcoins during the 8-month period. This is an amount equivalent to $122,000. The sales money hiked to an incredible amount of over $700,000 when the bitcoin currency was traded on Fridays.

Between November 2015 and April 2016, Farmacy41 moved its operations from Pandora to AlphaBay market. During this period, about 3,000 tabs and more than 60 fentanyl patches were sold, making Markis more than $70,000. Farmacy41 was also active on the Silk Road market where about 13,000 pills of opioids and other drugs were sold, making Markis more than $230,000.

Markis would deliver her products to customers via mail which was convenient due to the lack of thorough scrutiny systems. Transaction history on two of her PayPal accounts shows that she purchased U.S. postage stamps worth $7,000 over a 10-month period. Markis received great online reviews from her customers, making her one of the most preferred opioid sellers on the dark web. Most of her ratings were five stars out of five.

Her arrest comes after an operation in July 2017 aimed at curbing online sales of illicit goods including weapons, drugs, poisons, and explosives. The operation, led by a U.S. Attorney from Sacramento, led to the massive crackdown of AlphaBay market. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security filed an affidavit stating that information obtained after the seizing of the market led officials to Markis in September.

Markis was apprehended on Thursday and held at the Sacramento County Main Jail without bail. The following day she was presented in federal court and ordered to return the next day for further proceedings. The nurse was charged with conspiracy and the distribution of fentanyl. Her actions were heavily reprimanded, considering she is a nurse who is trained to save lives, but instead she took part in the illegal sale of prescriptions that led to the loss of many lives.

The 46-year-old holds a master’s degree in Nursing and Health Care Leadership from the University of California, Davis. She is also a registered nurse with a 24-year license valid from 1996 until August 2020, but records show that she is currently not practicing. The nurse had no disciplinary actions taken against her since she received her license, and so she did not seem like much of a suspect. Her neighbours also described her as a quiet person with a clean record, whose arrest came as a great shock to them, especially considering the extent of her crime.

Sacramento County authorities have labelled addiction to narcotics as a public health crisis with over a million prescriptions filed in 2017. Their use is quite widespread but only comes to attention when the side effects become fatal. These drugs have been the cause of more than 60 deaths as a result of overdose.

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