We are still in the early stages of the year and darknet marketplace web related arrests have already started soaring. The end of 2017 saw fentanyl-related arrests at their highest around the world. Even Canada saw a pharmacist fake a robbery to unsuccessfully hide a trail of fentanyl drug trafficking. A report from Orlando, Florida stated that a Bethlehem man has been convicted of running a synthetic drug business. This followed an announcement by United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez that Jeremy Achey, 43 years old was found guilty by a federal jury for distribution of controlled substance analogs.
Court documents showed that Jeremy’s illegal drug business resulted in the death of a 24-year old Florida-based woman who fatally overdosed on the drug. Additionally, the woman’s fiancée also overdosed but luckily for him, he survived and later helped to identify Achey to federal investigators.
He started feeding the Drug Enforcement Agency who were investigating this case together with the Pennsylvania State Police, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, information about everything he knew about Jeremy.
Achey, like a Texas man convicted of selling fentanly, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years, up to life imprisonment in a federal prison. The woman is believed to have bought one gram of tetrahydrofuran fentanyl, a synthetic analog last year.
According to federal authorities, the convicted mailed out thousands of packages of numerous synthetic drugs to many customers all over the country when he was accessing the deep web. Additional reports from prosecutors revealed that Jeremy sold his illegal drugs on the defunct darknet marketplace AlphaBay along with Hansa market was shut down by the FBI by multiple government police agencies last year. Jeremy was hiding under an alias “ETIKING” and sold drugs including synthetic opioids, LSD, and Ecstasy.
Agents from the DEA made controlled purchases from the darknet store he was operating, under his own account from the ETIKING dark web store and in any of those purchases, investigators received an envelope with a return address to Houston, containing drugs and other chemicals which looked like LSD and Ecstasy.
Court documents also revealed that DEA agents contacted a confidential informant, of whom his whereabouts wasn’t mentioned. He mentioned having done some business with the owner of the ETIKING store and this was enough to push agents and local police to the walls outside Jeremy’s Bethlehem home. They surveilled him for two days as Jeremy and his wife went to mail more envelopes at the post office which later was found with the same Houston return address on them.
The informant also added that he initially started the ETIKING dark web store and later sold the account together with 90 grams of fentanyl to a Pennsylvania man he only knew as Eric, for $400.
Reports suggest that, in addition to the information, the informant had saved a couple of the online messages from the buyer of the ETIKING dark web store which included vital information such as his BTC wallet address.
The DEA agents with the help of grand jury subpoenas then uncovered that whoever behind the handle ETIKING used the same email address for his account with a company that sold postage online as well as print mailing labels. His Bitcoin debit card transactions, on the other hand, were done with the confidential informant of the DEA. Also on the bitcoin user agreement anonymity was lost as he listed his East Eighth Street address.
Jeremy’s was first arrested in July last year where he appeared in a federal court in Allentown and was later scheduled to face trial on a drug distribution charge as evidence provided by federal authorities were enough for the judge.
The judge also stated that he found him to present a flight risk to the community and issued an order for him to be held in Lehigh County Jail before his removal to Florida. Similarly, in December of last year, a suspect in a fentanyl drug ring was denied bail.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 13, 2018.