A Panorama City couple and a Hollywood Hills man are facing federal charges of using the Darknet to obtain illegal narcotics and shipping methamphetamine to buyers in countries including the Philippines, New Zealand and Poland, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The trio were named in an eight-count indictment returned March 22, charging them with conspiracy and various drug counts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Michael Alan Goldberg, 34, of Panorama City, is accused of running the drug-trafficking ring, continuing to do so even after being taken into federal custody in 2018 for an unrelated fraud case for which he was sentenced to 42 months in prison, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be arraigned next Monday on the conspiracy charge, along with a count of intentionally distributing methamphetamine.
Goldberg’s wife, 31-year-old Donnica Mae Rabulan, pleaded not guilty Monday to the conspiracy charge and four counts of distributing meth. James Caleb Kueker, 41, of the Hollywood Hills, pleaded not guilty Monday to conspiracy, possession with the intent to distribute ketamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
Trial was tentatively set for June 4 for Rabulan and Kueker.
Prosecutors said the trio used the Darknet to buy drugs using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and made 59 drug shipments to international buyers.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a Van Nuys shipping company contacted authorities in May 2018 about seven parcels being sent to the Philippines believed to contain controlled substances. Investigators determined the packages contained nearly 21 kilograms of meth, and had contact information linked to Goldberg, officials said.
Prosecutors contend that Rabulan made shipments of meth to overseas buyers, while Kueker collected thousands of dollars in proceeds from the sales on behalf of Goldberg.
Federal officials raided Kueker’s homes in the Hollywood Hills and Valley Village last month, discovering drug labs at both locations and a loaded AK-47-style rifle at the Hollywood Hills home, prosecutors said.
All three face potential life prison terms if convicted, prosecutors said.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: