A 25-year old Newport, South Wales resident has pleaded guilty to multiple drug-related charges after he was arrested and detained on suspicion of buying and selling the highly potent synthetic opioid known as fentanyl.
Kyle Enos was arraigned in the Cardiff Crown Court where he admitted to importing, supplying and exporting the lethal drug on the dark web to more than a hundred customers in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada between 2016 and 2017.
The dark web drug dealer was arrested in May this year in a joint operation conducted by the Gwent Police Department and the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Lethal Opioid More Dangerous than Heroin
Although fentanyl can be legally prescribed as an analgesic, the synthetic opioid is said to be 50 times more lethal than street heroin.
The opioid also exists in a much more dangerous variant known as carfentanyl, which is used as anesthesia for large animals such as elephants.
This variant is said to be roughly 10,000 times more potent than heroin.
Due to its high potency levels, the synthetic opioid and all its variants cannot be safely handled without using protective clothing.
When overdosed, the drug elicits symptoms such as raised or lowered blood pressure, nausea, vomiting and respiratory difficulties. A fentanyl overdose is rarely not lethal.
The synthetic killer has been linked to thousands of urban deaths in what is rapidly becoming a crisis of national proportions in the U.S.
The drug, which was connected to the 2016 death of internationally known U.S. singer and performer Prince, has fully penetrated the streets in cities everywhere.
Easy public access to fentanyl-laced heroin has contributed to a new epidemic that, according to reports, cannot be curbed by the availability of antidotes such as Narcan in an increasing number of cases.
Enos Used Various Identities on the Dark Web
A statement from the NCA said that a number of items used in the preparation and packaging of drugs were recovered from the Newport man’s home.
Several packages containing a white powder believed to be fentanyl were also recovered in the police raid, which proved beyond doubt that the 25-year-old was deeply involved in the drug trade.
According to an NCA spokesperson, Enos covered his digital tracks properly enough by adopting different aliases on the various dark web marketplaces he frequented.
In total, the agency discovered 168 customers who had sold or bought the drug from him on the dark web, 92 of whom were in the U.K.
The remaining 76 customers are believed to be from Canada and the U.S.
Police are following up on a number of recent drug-related deaths, some of which could be as a result of overdoses from the dangerous synthetic opioid.
The Dark Web Dealer Sourced the Drug from China
After he was arrested and first charged in court, Enos later admitted to importing the drug from China before repackaging and selling it to his customers in the listed three countries.
He conducted most of his exploits on the dark web, relying on anonymity software such as Tor to keep his identity hidden.
Colin Williams, an NCA officer, said in a statement that the agency has been following up on fentanyl dealers that endanger the lives of unsuspecting drug users.
The Cardiff Crown Court acknowledged the lethality of the drug in relation to heroin as well as the international aspect of Enos’ case.
Williams mentioned a partnership between the NCA and various entities in the U.K. and overseas as they target individuals such as Enos.
The threat posed by the synthetic opioid has been around for years, and the agency is determined to find the source of the drug on the dark web and shut it down soon to prevent more deaths in the future.
In the meantime, Enos, who only appeared briefly in court to confirm his name and to accept the drug-related charges, will appear in court again on December 18, 2017.
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