Decosta was given a 78-month prison term by United States District Judge Brian C. Buescher. Decosta must finish a three-year period of supervised release after being released from prison. In the federal system, parole does not exist.
In the autumn of 2019 detectives found an online dark net marketplace named “Empire Market” where they noticed seller “norco_king” promoting the sale of prescription restricted drugs such as Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives made a series of controlled purchases of pharmaceutical restricted drugs from norco_king on the darknet using an undercover persona. Bitcoin and later Monero were accepted as forms of payment by Norco_king. Drug-filled packages were shipped from California to an alias address in Omaha.
Investigators identified Jamal Holdman, a co-defendant of Decosta, as a suspect after viewing surveillance footage from the originating post offices close to Desert Hot Springs, California.
Investigators executed a search warrant to search Holdman’s Desert Hot Springs home on June 21, 2021. After searching the home, authorities found about 21,000 pills, many of which were pharmaceutical controlled substances.
The Substances Found
These included opioids like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Morphine Sulfate, Hydromorphone, Tapentadol, Methadone, and Tramadol, as well as several amphetamines like Lisdexamfetamine (marketed as Vyvanse) and benzodiazepines like Lorazepam and Alprazolam.
Investigators also confiscated 420 pressed “M30” tablets, priority mailboxes from the postal service, and prepaid order labels, one of which was intended to be transported to Nebraska. The “M30” pills’ color and markings suggested they contained oxycodone, but subsequent laboratory testing revealed they also included Fentanyl, a Schedule II restricted narcotic.
Holdman identified Nicolas Decosta as the drug source and dark net market vendor while claiming to have packed and sent the illegal narcotics. When this information was confirmed, investigators detained Decosta. On April 12, 2023, Holdman received a 68-month prison term sentence.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service both looked into this matter.