Issaquah darknet drug trafficker pleads guilty to conspiracy and firearm charges

Admits making over 400 online sales of fentanyl, meth, and other drugs while possessing 5 firearms.

Nicholas Partlow of Issaquah pleaded guilty on March 7 in U.S. District Court to drug and gun charges, according to U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. The 28-year-old Partlow admitted to selling drugs on the darknet more than 400 times as part of a conspiracy with the operators of darknet marketplaces and other drug traffickers.

Partlow also admitted to selling drugs locally and possessing five firearms as part of the drug-trafficking activities. After law enforcement searched Partlow’s residence in November 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice said he continued selling drugs.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones will sentence Partlow on July 1, 2022.

According to the plea agreement, over the course of 2020, postal investigators seized multiple parcels mailed by Partlow to his drug customers. Inside the packages, investigators found heroin, fentanyl pills and other controlled substances. Investigators also covertly ordered heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs from Partlow through the darknet.

In November 2020, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Partlow’s Issaquah residence. That search turned up heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, ketamine, GHB and other drugs, as well as electronic equipment that Partlow used as part of his trafficking operation and drug proceeds in cash and cryptocurrency.

Investigators also seized Partlow’s five firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun and a pistol equipped with a silencer.

According to the Department of Justice, after the November 2020 search, Partlow continued trafficking drugs. He also tried to obtain another gun.

In March 2021, police in Bellevue arrested Partlow and an associate. Partlow carried narcotics and a notebook containing information about his trafficking activities. A few months later in September 2021, Partlow crashed a car in Renton, while carrying narcotics and a taser. At the time, Partlow was wanted on a federal arrest warrant. He has been in federal custody since then.

Under the plea agreement, Partlow is forfeiting to the government a range of items, including guns, electronics, cryptocurrency, cash and seven wristwatches.

Partlow pleaded guilty to two felonies: conspiring to distribute controlled substances and possessing firearms in furtherance of that crime.

For the conspiracy charge, Partlow faces up to 20 years in prison. For the firearms charge, he faces a mandatory-minimum five-year prison term, which will run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the conspiracy charge. The ultimate sentence will be determined by Judge Jones after considering U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.