November 1, 2021: Feds and Europol Disrupt Darknet Drug Sales
The U.S. Department of Justice and Europol announced that Operation Dark HunTor, a coordinated international effort to disrupt opioid trafficking on the Darknet led to the arrests of 150 people and the seizure of approximately 234 kilograms of drugs worldwide. In the U.S. this included methamphetamine rings selling fake Adderall in Houston and Katy, Texas and Darknet vendors in Miami, Florida and Providence, Rhode Island that sold fentanyl pills.
A woman in Overland, Missouri was charged with child endangerment after her one-year-old was poisoned by a fake Percocet she had left in an open pill bottle. The child was hospitalized, and survived.
Three-year-old Kamari Opperman was less fortunate. She died after ingesting fentanyl pills she and two more children found in a nightstand in an Evansville, Indiana home. Six people have been arrested in connection with her death.
Two men in LaPorte, Indiana were charged with dealing counterfeit pills made with fentanyl after a warranted search of two residences turned up hand-pressed fentanyl pills, other illegal drugs, illegal firearms, and cash.
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation warned that parafluorofentanyl, a stronger analogue of fentanyl, has been found in powder, liquid and pill form across the state.
In Illinois, Sangamon County’s coroner issued a warning to residents about fentanyl in street drugs, including counterfeit Xanax.
A 44-year-old Lincoln, Nebraska man faces charges for giving a fentanyl pill to a woman who believed it to be Percocet. She had to be revived with Narcan after ingesting it.
The Kenosha, Wisconsin County Sheriff’s Department’s Drug Operations Group reported that it had found fentanyl in all types of counterfeit pills as well as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.
A 21-year-old in Babbitt, Minnesota was charged in the fentanyl poisoning death of 19-year-old Devin Michael Erickson, who allegedly bought counterfeit pills from him via Snapchat in March 2021.
Authorities in Worcester County, Massachusetts arrested a 20-year-old Rhode Island resident after they caught him with cocaine and about 750 fake oxycodone pills made with fentanyl.
An IDEA School District employee is among 27 people in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas who allegedly sold fake pills made with fentanyl and meth. Court documents say her role in the conspiracy was to recruit teens.
Tulsa, Oklahoma resident Elisa Kaye Sanders received three years of probation and must pay a $25,000 fine for using non-FDA-approved cosmetic fillers on a patient who suffered adverse reactions.
Anthony Arrindell of Marion, Virginia pleaded guilty to possessing fentanyl pills with intent to distribute. United States Postal Inspection Service investigators intercepted more than 1,700 fake pills made with fentanyl on their way from China to Arrindell in July and August 2021.
Justin Ryan Best of Laurel, Maryland, pleaded guilty for manufacturing and distributing illegal steroids from his Laurel, Maryland home between 2013 and April 2021. Investigators became aware of his activities after they intercepted pill press parts being shipped to Best from China in March 2021.
Odunayo Oluwalade of Windsor Mill, Maryland pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud conspiracy for his part in a scheme that collected payments via a fake Moderna website that claimed to sell COVID-19 vaccines.
49-year-old Kevin Gray of Chalmette, Louisiana pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute cocaine and heroin. Officers found those drugs and a pill press inside his home during a court authorized search.
In a press conference held by the parish’s coroner, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana families spoke about losing their loved ones to counterfeit pills.
Law enforcement found six ounces of fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills and marijuana in the home of a Memphis, Tennessee man during a warranted search
Law enforcement in Gulfport, Mississippi arrested seven people in a drug bust and seized counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, illegal prescription narcotics and other drugs, cash and 27 illegal firearms.
Stephen Walker, one of three men who was charged in the September 2018 death of rapper Mac Miller in Studio City, California, has submitted a guilty plea that admits distributing the counterfeit oxycodone pills that killed him.
Sheriff’s detectives in Ventura, California and investigators from the Ventura County Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit arrested two men selling fake pills on social media and seized illicit drugs--including 50,000 fake Xanax and M-30 pills.
Meanwhile, in Sonoma County, California sheriff’s deputies arrested two people and confiscated 40,000 suspected fentanyl pills during a traffic stop on 101.
Prosecutors in Kings County, Washington are launching a new effort to discourage the sale of fentanyl by charging drug dealers with controlled substance homicide.
A jury in the U.S. District of the Western District of Washington found 68-year-old Richard Marschall, a naturopathic physician who used to live in Port Angeles, guilty of a federal felony related to falsely claiming that his products could prevent or treat numerous serious diseases. It is the third time he has been convicted of this crime.
48-year-old Kent Fox of Great Falls, Montana pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine and two counterfeit fentanyl pills that led to the death of another man in August 2020. A co-defendant has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.
A 21-year-old Las Vegas woman who allegedly bought and sold “Xanax” and “oxycodone” on Snapchat has been charged with providing the pills that killed Adrianna Folks on March 4, 2021.
In Idaho, Nez Perce County Prosecutor Justin Coleman filed involuntary manslaughter charges against a man who allegedly sold Zachary Taylor the fentanyl pills that led to his death on September 12, 2021.
Law enforcement arrested six people and seized 6,000 fentanyl pills and more than $100,000 in cash during an investigation in south central Idaho.
Authorities in the US and Thailand are investigating the alleged sale of tens of millions of counterfeit, second-hand, and sometimes visibly soiled nitrile gloves by fraudulent Thai companies to U.S. distributors.
In Canada, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s Drug Investigation Unit announced that a 24-year-old had been charged with unlawfully producing alprazolam and possessing a pill press. The prosecution is linked to “Operation Rhino,” the September 2019 breakup of a drug trafficking ring in St. John's.