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A California man who fled the country after selling massive amounts of fentanyl pills in South Dakota and across the country will face justice after U.S. Marshals arrested him in Thailand and brought him back to Sioux Falls, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota. 

Damon Jobin, a 34-year-old from Huntington Beach, Calif., pleaded not guilty Wednesday at the federal court in Sioux Falls to money laundering and conspiring with others to distribute more than 100 grams of a fentanyl analogue. If found guilty, he could be sent to prison for 10 years to life. 

Jobin was indicted on the charges Oct. 23, 2018 and arrested Nov. 29, 2018 in Los Angeles. A federal judge in California released Jobin on a $25,000 bond and ordered him to appear at the federal court in Sioux Falls in February 2019. But Jobin fled the country before his court date. 

He was eventually found in Thailand, arrested June 7, 2019 by the Royal Thai Police and brought to Sioux Falls by U.S. Marshals from South Dakota. 

"It doesn’t matter where in the world you try to hide," said Ron Parsons, U.S. attorney for South Dakota. "The United States Marshals will find you and bring you back."

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In 2017, Jobin and other co-conspirators used the Dark Web — internet that can only be accessed using special software or authorization — to sell about 100,000 fentanyl or fentanyl analogue pills to people suspected or convicted of distributing them in Chamberlain, Mitchell and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, according to the news release. Law enforcement seized 20,000 of the pills from a South Dakota post office and further investigation found that Jobin mailed about 200 packages containing more than 2.6 million pills to 32 states. 

Fentanyl is a synthetic (man-made) opioid that's 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Jobin is also accused of laundering more than $130,0000 converted from Bitcoin proceeds he received from shipping the pills. 

"The public should know that our dedicated law enforcement partners are doing everything possible to work up the chains of illegal drug distribution and bring the criminals who are profiting from human suffering by shipping these poisons into South Dakota, or anywhere else, to justice," Parsons said. 

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Western Cyber Crimes Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Department of State, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Costa Mesa and Chamberlain police departments. 

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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