In a federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, Cory Nicholas Skinner, 32, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and admitted that he had been operating a vendor account on the Dream darknet market. The 32-year-old admitted that he had worked as a United States Post Office employee while distributing cocaine, heroin, and buprenorphine on the darknet.
Both United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Charge Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service announced the guilty plea. Although, in most cases, the US Attorney makes the announcement or primary announcement, the United States Postal Inspection Service (as well as the Postal Service itself) had a vested interest in the investigation and defendant.
The investigation began with a University of Arkansas police officer’s fatal overdose. More specifically, the investigation began underneath the fallen officer’s head. A detective with the Conway Police Department in Arkansas, while examining the deceased officer’s body, noticed a USPS package under the officer’s head. Someone from Baltimore, Maryland, had shipped the Priority Mail envelope to the fallen officer’s address.
Detectives passed this information along and started working with the United States Postal Inspection Service. Postal inspectors in Maryland had been given information about the package that would help them identify packages with a matching “profile.” A profile, in this scenario, is certain information that effectively targets a specific vendor’s packages. Profiles consist of any number of pieces of information that help Postal Inspectors pull specific Priority Mail packages out of a mail stream containing hundreds of thousands of envelopes that often look identical at first glance or to the naked eye.
When the darknetmarkets subreddit still existed, users warned that a certain darknet vendor’s packages had been profiled. In many cases, this meant that an entire batch of the vendor’s packages never arrived. Buyers would notice this after logging into the account on their darknet market of choice only to see that other customers—via a marketplace’s “review” section—had reportedly not received their packages either.
“DoggFood” had primarily great reviews. He received almost exclusively four and five star reviews for his cocaine and heroin. However, towards the end of his career, he started receiving one-star reviews. The packages stopped arriving. The Postal Inspectors had built a successful profile. They intercepted 20 packages connected to DoggFood. His profile had 18 one star reviews. The Postal Inspectors allowed two packages to arrive at the intended addresses in order to question the recipients.
They did not allow the packages to move before having them analyzed, though. A package from Baltimore to Arizona and another from Baltimore to North Carolina both had fingerprints on the Priority Mail packages today belonging to a fellow USPS employee; Cory Nicholas Skinner. After performing controlled deliveries at the houses that belonged to two darknet drug buyers, law enforcement learned that the buyers had purchased the substances with Bitcoin from a Dream market vendor under the name “DoggFood.”
Several law enforcement agencies raided Skinner’s house in 2018. They found a computer connected to the Dream market profile “DoggFood,” Priority Mail envelopes, stamps, Foodsaver vacuum sealers, $6,600, a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol and ammunition for a 9mm Luger pistol.
His guilty plea forced him into a sentencing bracket with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. The maximum will be determined on August 13 before U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow.