COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A drug dealing operation that sold psychedelic mushrooms nationwide just had its leader sentenced in federal court in Columbus, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio said Wednesday.
James Verl Barlow, 45, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute psychedelic mushroom analogue. His brother, 36-year-old Matthew Taylor Barlow of Murray, Utah, also received seven months in prison and six months of house arrest, according to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker.
The pair were part of a group of 12 defendants accused of selling powder and liquified psychedelic mushrooms on the dark web. The Barlows used a network of people in Nevada, Utah and Maryland to ship the drugs from Las Vegas, Memphis and Gulf Breeze, Florida to American and European customers. At least one person in Columbus was among the buyers of the mushrooms, according to court records from the case.
The group advertised the drugs on the dark net with the names “TRIPWITHSCIENCE,” and “PERFECTSHROOMS,” selling them for $20 an order. James Barlow also handled money laundering on the mushroom revenue, according to Parker. The Central Ohio Cyber Drug Task Force said it tied at least 3,515 kilograms of mushrooms sold back to the Barlow group.
Alongside prison time for the two Barlows convicted, Parker said government agencies seized at least $12 million from the drug sales, in forms including property, millions of dollars of cryptocurrency, more than $500,000 in cash and a Tesla Model-X Wagon. The government also seized a plot of land in Brighton, Colo. worth $1.5 million.
Parker did not share the status of criminal charges or trials for the other 10 people he said were involved in the Barlows’ drug operation.