File photo.

A former professional skateboarder from Long Beach was sentenced today to more than eight years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine and laundering cryptocurrency “for the darkweb operations of other drug traffickers,” officials said.

Evan Jaime Hernandez, 35, pleaded guilty in June 2021 to one count of distribution of methamphetamine and one count of laundering money, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

From March 2018 to March 2019, officials say Hernandez conspired with drug dealers in the supplying and distribution of narcotics “over one of the world’s largest darkness marketplaces.”

In 2001, a 15-year-old Hernandez was regarded as a child star in the skateboarding industry. He was sponsored by industry powerhouse Baker Skateboards early in his career and was part of the video Baker 2G.

But in 2018,  according to the DOJ, Hernandez sold nearly 2 pounds of methamphetamine for $5,000 to someone he thought was a money launderer. The supposed money launderer was working with law enforcement at the time.

According to court documents, one of Hernandez’s suppliers was a 36-year-old drug dealer from Irvine named William Garner IV who pleaded guilty in June 2019 to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Garner is serving a 10-year prison sentence for that offense.

During this time period, Hernandez also used the money launderer contact who was working with law enforcement to exchange the virtual currency Bitcoin into cash, federal officials said.

“By using cryptocurrency and an unlicensed exchanger to liquidate the proceeds, Hernandez intended to conceal the source and ownership of the drug proceeds,” according to a statement by the DOJ.

Hernandez exchanged Bitcoin on four different occasions, totaling approximately $171,300, officials said.

In March 2019, law enforcement conducted a search of a location owned by one of Hernandez’s associates in which federal agents found 10 vacuum-sealed bags in United States Postal Service and Federal Express envelopes, as well as four separate vacuum-sealed bags and one gallon-size freezer bag containing drugs.

During the search, police seized about 15 pounds of methamphetamine that they say Hernandez distributed and was going to be used to fill orders on the internet.

“[Hernandez] was involved in a highly sophisticated drug trafficking operation, where he personally took on various roles to ensure its success: obtaining multiple types of narcotics, selling them directly to customers, and laundering money on the backend in a sophisticated manner,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Hernandez has been ordered to forfeit his belongings to the government, including a 2010 Mercedes-Benz, approximately $35,000 in cash, and various jewelry.

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