In early April, a former darknet vendor from San Diego pleaded guilty to buying and selling controlled substances via the darknet. Sky Justin Gornik, 39, had been selling drugs for years before federal agents raided his home and discovered fentanyl, carfentanil, ketamine, and other assorted illegal substances. After Gornik’s late 2017 arrest, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California issued a press release that revealed San Diego had not yet seen a case that involved carfentanil.
And, even though authorities in Southern California make fentanyl busts every week, very few cases involved a quantity of drugs that matched the sheer stomping power of the drugs found at Gornik’s house. Federal authorities, during the raid, discovered a container filled with almost two grams of carfentanil and had previously intercepted another container filled with nearly 100 grams of fentanyl. The mainstream media and California prosecutors caught public attention by converting the combined weights of the drugs into a more relatable figure: they said Gornik had stored more than 86,000 fatal doses of fentanyl and carfentanil in his San Diego home.
An investigation led by U.S. Postal Inspectors in San Diego uncovered a darknet drug distribution operation that proved the 39-year-old had trafficked far more than than 100 grams of fentanyl and possibly more than two grams of carfentanil. Gornik also trafficked a significant quantity of MDMA during a multi-years drug operation. In fact, the case began in 2015 when Customs agents seized more than one ounce of MDMA headed for an address authorities knew belonged to Gornik.
They seized a similar package in early 2016. Both had originated from a supplier in the Netherlands and both were intended for Gornik. Then in April 2017, authorities made a move that effectively sent the investigation on course for a guaranteed area and conviction. An Oklahoma Postal Inspector, alongside other federal authorities, identified Oklahoma resident Steve Wallace George. George, the investigators discovered, imported fentanyl, created fentanyl gel tabs, and shipped 600 – 1,200 of the tabs to Gornik every week.
Not long after the arrest in Oklahoma, federal authorities raided Gornik’s San Diego home. They found carfentanil, assorted pills, psychedelic mushrooms, and 300 vials filled with ketamine. That also found USPS packages, scales, and ledgers. The ledgers alone connected Gornik to darknet drug deals and transactions with other drug dealers.
He admitted that he had been selling drugs on darknet markets since 2014 and had continued until his 2017 arrest. He said he started selling on Silk Road but moved from one marketplace to the next following a market’s collapse, seizure, or exit scam. The last market he had used, according to his plea agreement, fell not long after his arrest. Alphabay.
He faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and to forfeit millions of dollars spread throughout various cryptocurrencies. He will reappear in court for sentencing in July 2018.