The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a guilty plea from a Canadian national for conspiring to import fentanyl into the United States. Christopher Bantli of Calgary fought extradition following his indictment in the District of Columbia in September 2016 and only stepped foot on American soil on January 24, 2019.
According to court records, beginning in or around November 2015 and continuing through September 8, 2016, Bantli distributed fentanyl to customers who made purchased from defunct online marketplace AlphaBay. On that marketplace, Bantli operated under the vendor name “Canadasunshine.” The defendant also operated a non-encrypted website, Canadasunshinemart.com, on which he advertised various controlled substances and directed potential customers to his AlphaBay vendor profile. Archive.org only captured one day’s history for that website, but items listed on it include benzodiazepines, Adderall, and “World Famous Xanax Candies.”
Bantli’s Calgary apartment functioned as his drug lab and contained a pill press, packaging, cutting agents, and various controlled substances. After filling the orders, Bantli used the Canada Post Service and the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the packages to his customers. Undercover agents made controlled buys from Bantli on six different occasions, purchasing a total of 580 “Pez” style candies that contained fentanyl, alprazolam, or U-47700. During his time selling on AlphaBay, Bantli completed over 131 sales. On a separate account on the Silk Road marketplace, the defendant completed approximately 2,000 sales under the vendor name “CalgaryDealer.”
Bantli is scheduled to be sentenced in from of Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in cooperation with Canadian law enforcement, investigated this case. Critical assistance in extraditing Bantil came from the U.S. Marshals Service. The DOJ expressed gratitude to the Government of Canada, and in particular to the Calgary Police Service Cybercrime Support Team, for all of their assistance. DOJ Trial Attorney Brian Nicholson of the Office of International Affairs provided crucial assistance for the extradition process and for obtaining foreign evidence during the investigations. Trial Attorneys Anthony Aminoff and Kaitlin Sahni of the Criminal Division’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section are the prosecutors for this case.