The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Sam Bent, 33, of Saint Johnsbury, Vermont was sentenced today to a five-year period of incarceration upon his conviction for three counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances over the Dark Web. The prison term will be followed by a three-year period of supervised release. Sam Bent’s sentence also included a $14,000 forfeiture money judgment. Chief United States District Judge Geoffrey Crawford ordered Sam Bent to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on October 1, 2019.
Court records show that from 2017 until April 2018 Sam Bent conspired with his cousin Djeneba Bent, 27, of Concord, Vermont, to distribute cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and other controlled substances over dark web marketplaces that are accessible on the Internet only to persons using encryption techniques. He received payment for his drug sales in bitcoin. Sam Bent’s efforts to convert that cryptocurrency into cash provided the basis for his conviction on three counts of money laundering.
Sam Bent operated the conspiracy out of the East Burke, Vermont, residence he shared with his co-conspirator cousin, Djeneba Bent, until Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service searched that residence in April 2018.
In imposing Sam Bent’s sentence, Judge Crawford noted the need to deter others from engaging in the illegal online distribution of controlled substance. Judge Crawford also sentenced Djeneba Bent to a three-year term of probation, noting her lesser role in the conspiracy and other mitigating factors.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Vermont State Police.