A San Luis Obispo man pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to distribute marijuana on the dark web, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott.
Using the online monikers “Sawgrass,” “Ross4Less,” and “ChristmasTree,” Daniel McMonegal, 36, distributed weed on various dark web marketplaces, including Dream Market. At the time, McMonegal was also the owner of a San Luis Obispo based marijuana delivery service called West Coast Organix, which he claimed was a nonprofit medical marijuana cooperative.
McMonegal then laundered the bitcoin proceeds of his drug distribution through an undercover agent located in New York. After receiving the bitcoin from McMonegal, the undercover agent mailed parcels of cash to McMonegal in San Luis Obispo and Mariposa. In total, McMonegal distributed approximately 146 kilograms of marijuana in exchange for approximately $476,500 in bitcoin.
McMonegal, who faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on Nov. 12.
This case was the product of Operation Dark Gold, a coordinated operation that used the first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the dark web.