SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KEVN/KOTA TV) - A California man pleads “not guilty” to charges that he distributed fentanyl in South Dakota and participated in a money laundering conspiracy.
Damon Vincent Jobin, 34 of Huntington Beach, Calif., was initially indicted in October 2018 for his role in a large-scale opioid distribution conspiracy involving the shipment of about 100,000 synthetic analogue fentanyl pills to South Dakota. This was part of a greater scheme distributing 2.6 million of the pills nationwide.
He was arrested in California in November 2018 and once bonded out, ordered to appear in the District of South Dakota for arraignment in February 2019. However, Jobin reportedly fled the U.S. He was later arrested in Thailand in June 2019 and returned to the States.
Specifically, Jobin is accused of using the “dark web” to send fentanyl to people for distribution in Chamberlain, Mitchell and Sioux Falls. Law enforcement seized 20,000 of the pills sent via the U.S. mail.
Prosecutors say Jobin mailed approximately 200 packages containing more than 2.6 million fentanyl or fentanyl analogue pills to addresses in 32 states.
Based on records kept by Jobin, the total weight of the pills exceeded 259 kilograms. For reference, the largest physical seizure of fentanyl to date took place in Arizona at the United States border in January 2019 and involved approximately 254 pounds, or 117 kilograms, of fentanyl.
Experts estimate that one kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to produce approximately one million fatal doses. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.