Two Iowa men have been charged in court for allegedly using the dark web to sell drugs to a pair of college students in Athens, Ohio. They are accused of shipping a significant quantity of drugs to the two darknet customers, who later supplied details about the suspects to investigators.
According to Athens County Prosecutor Keller J. Blackburn, 42-year-old Anthony Scott Boeckholt was served felony charges including money laundering, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and aggravated drug trafficking.
The same court also indicted Tyler Strand, a 26-year-old Iowa resident, on charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and money laundering.
Ohio University Students Lead Police to Suspects
According to the investigators who brought to book the two suspects, Strand and Boeckholt had sold thousands of dollars worth of drugs. Precisely, the two suspects were caught with a supply of drugs including Percocet and Oxycontin—two opioid painkillers that are subject to high rates of abuse.
Police say the two suspects weren’t only in the business of trading Percocet and Oxycontin through the darknet. They were also notorious for supplying other hard drugs which ultimately got into the hands of Ohio University students through the postal services.
Boeckholt and Strand used darknet markets and cryptocurrency to attain the anonymity required in drug trafficking.
According to reports from local law enforcement officials, the Ohio University students were arrested with the drugs and an immediate investigation commenced. Further questioning was undertaken to establish the source of the drugs.
In the interrogation, investigators were able to extract the information required to arrest the source suspects in the darknet drug trafficking ring, which led them to Boeckholt and Strand.
Drug Overdose Rates on the Rise in Ohio
The United States’ nationwide opioid epidemic is particularly felt in Ohio.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Ohio has the second highest fatal drug overdose rate in the country, following behind West Virginia.
According to data compiled by the Ohio Department of Health, statewide opioid overdose deaths increased to 4,050 in 2016, up from 3,050 the previous year. Most of those deaths, 58 percent to be exact, were linked to Fentanyl and other related opioid drugs.
These statistics continue to prompt a sense of urgency among state law enforcement agencies to adopt new strategies to crack down on opioid trafficking operations similar to the one carried out by Boeckholt and Strand.
The Investigation Continues
Although Boeckholt is already in police custody, Strand has yet to be apprehended by law enforcement. Warrants for his arrest have been issued throughout the U.S.
Boeckholt and Strand will be extradited from Iowa to Athens, Ohio for arraignment.
It is not yet clear if the two suspects were importing the drugs or manufacturing them by themselves, but the investigation is being conducted to establish more evidence in the case.
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