A couple from Cincinnati area—Grace Bosworth, 38, and James Halpin, 30—have just been charged with trafficking, importing and selling fentanyl online. This substance is a lethal synthetic opiate.
The two operated a dark web storefront, charging anywhere from $20 to $230 for the drug, plus a $35 shipping fee out of the Newport and Norwood post offices.
The drug would be packaged amid pages of magazines and distributed through the United States Postal Service.
Undercover federal officials realized the operations of the couple when they started purchasing fentanyl from vendors through dark web, after receiving consent from a federal Attorney’s Office located in Cleveland.
Their main aim was to catch dark web criminals, which is a difficult process since users on the network cannot be traced when they browse through identity-masking computer software.
Hence, none of the sites on the dark web can be traced through methods like search engines.
The dark web is one of the murkiest areas on the internet. In the past, it has been associated with several high-profile criminal cases involving drugs, human trafficking and weapons.
Earlier this month, officials ordered drugs on the dark web which arrived from Montreal and Quebec at the Norwood post offices bearing the duo’s address. It was taken to Hamilton’s County Coroner Office.
According to court documents, the package contained 5grams of a blend of carfentanil, fentanyl and additional fentanyl analogs. This is equivalent to a full teaspoon.
The shipment was traced back to Newport. Further investigations revealed that the same address had been the source of around 40 similar packages.
Luckily, the shipment was seized in three Greater Cincinnati Post offices before they could be shipped across the country.
Halpin was arrested when he went to collect his package from the post office as he shipped out others.
He was found in possession of “untested fentanyl.” According to the agents, Halpin admitted that he was involved in shipping out the drugs, but stated that it was Bosworth who had bought, packaged and peddled the drugs.
When Bosworth was arrested, she was in possession of a substance alleged to be fentanyl.
She was linked to the packages through her handwriting, which matched that of her divorce papers. This was a key to cracking the case.
Bosworth is a registered agent of five firms whose names resemble that of Sunny Day Real Estate.
She is also listed as the founder of Global 2 Local Language Solutions in Norwood. She has a criminal record with convictions for attempted theft, disorderly conduct and unauthorized use of property dating back to 2010.
Halpin told the investigators that they had been receiving the package from Canada weekly since March 2017, which contained at least 2 grams of fentanyl.
The acting U.S Attorney David A. Sierleja said in a statement that “the amount of drugs seized from the couple could kill an entire football stadium full of people.” Prior to their arrest, the couple had sold at least 140 drug packages across various states in the nation.
This figure was attested by the dark web market site on which the drugs were listed and sold.
As part of their bond, Judge Karen Litkovitz ordered a comprehensive inpatient substance abuse treatment before the pair’s trial in federal court. Afterward, Bosworth would be electronically monitored during the remainder of the trial.
They were both ordered not to speak to each other, possess or use any drugs or drink alcohol while the case is proceeding.
This case was a revelation that hard drugs are being distributed through the U.S. Postal Service. Newton’s police chief Tom Synan stated that the service should take up electronic systems like FedEx and UPS that can electronically flag suspicious packages.