In New Jersey’s largest-ever drug bust, agents seized large quantities of fake Xanax and fentanyl-laced heroin, along with pill presses, mixers and other equipment. The seizure targeted possible money laundering schemes associated with a darknet drug ring.
Authorities have confirmed the incident to be the greatest seizure of counterfeit pills in the history of the Northeastern U.S. state.
The operation was directed by the office of the Manhattan District Attorney and led to the arrest of three persons in New Jersey, including two Middlesex County residents and a man from Ocean County.
Chester Anderson, 44, was arrested alongside two other alleged accomplices, Jarrette Codd and Ronald MacCarty, for drug conspiracy.
The apprehension of the three suspects was followed by an indictment that linked the suspects to a darknet business dealing counterfeit Xanax tablets and other banned drugs to customers across more than 40 states.
$2.3 Million Business
Authorities found out that the darknet drug dealers recorded an excess of $2.3 million in the trade of strong Xanax, steroids and other substances in 2018 alone.
Like most darknet deals involving cryptocurrencies, virtual coins allowed the group to launder large sums of money off the drug sales.
The three suspects have been charged in a New York court for drug conspiracy and money laundering. Anderson was charged for both selling controlled drugs and identity theft.
The Middlesex County prosecutor is currently handing the cases according to the substances seized in the raid.
Undercover Investigation on Dream Market
The entire investigation and eventual arrests came about as a result of a months-long operation that involved undercover agents.
Undercover officers made a series of drug purchases—including more than 10,000 Xanax tablets—on Dream Market using cryptocurrencies.
They followed through a number of court-sanctioned search warrants that ultimately would reveal a cache of drugs that New Jersey had never seen before.
Today we’re announcing the takedown of a storefront on the dark web that made, sold, and shipped fake Xanax 💊 to buyers in 43 states, and laundered $2.3M of the proceeds using cryptocurrency.
— Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) April 16, 2019
In numbers, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office revealed that the operation uncovered drugs that ranged from around half a million Xanax tablets, 500 glassines of fentanyl-laced heroin and a collection of methamphetamine, ketamine and many other controlled substances.
The three suspects were arrested this month at various locations.
The operation involved a large team of officers who raided South Brunswick, Jamesburg, Vineland and several other locations in New Jersey.
The alleged leader of the drug ring was found in a South Brunswick home with heavy surveillance technology, where 170,000 Xanax pills were reportedly stashed.
The suspects were transported to New York City.
Money Laundering Scheme
As mentioned earlier, the $2.3 million allegedly laundered by the three suspects was in the form of cryptocurrency, which was received as payment for the drug shipments.
It was discovered that the men allegedly managed to load pre-paid debit cards before withdrawing a total of $1 million from ATMs in New Jersey as well as Manhattan.
A Consignment of Drugs and Equipment
Detectives confiscated a host of equipment used for drug manufacturing, including pill presses and industrial mixes, among other items.
Apart from apprehending the suspects, authorities arrested a retail store owner whose premises were reportedly identified as the ring’s money laundering location.