Three university students were arrested as they tried to import harmful drugs from the dark web using the postal services.
The drugs were intercepted by the postal office workers who were working in collaboration with the county sheriffs to fight drug traffickers who are smuggling in drugs through the mail.
The three Western Illinois University students were identified as Zachary Barnett, William Hironimus-Wendt and Jacob Nelson. On the day of arrest, April 30, they were all taken to the McDonough County Jail while more investigations into their case was compiled.
Barnett, a 18-year-old finance student, was arrested in the university residential dorm (Morgan Hall) where a package containing drugs was destined.
According to Lieutenant Lindsey May, the three suspects purchased drugs including LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, ecstasy pills, Xanax, MDMA, modafinil and steroids.
They used darknet markets to order their drugs, a trend which has been seen with mostly young people around the world. Tor-based markets have revolutionized drug-related crime and made it difficult for the authorities to deal with abruptly.
After the police arrested the trio, an immediate investigation was begun to dig deep and find more detailed information to be presented in court.
It prompted the law enforcement to obtain a warrant to search the residence of the suspects.
A thorough search was conducted at their living places to ascertain that no stashed drugs were in their rooms.
The law enforcement seized a gummy bear which was infused with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
The police came to find out that the three suspects were the main suppliers to most of the locals and college students included.
According to Lieutenant May, the police are closely working with the postal service inspectors in mitigating online drug smuggling activities. It is a job most of the law enforcement agencies worldwide are working towards even though the challenges exceed the achievements.
The three alleged drug criminals are facing different charges which might see them spend the next years behind bars.
Barnett was charged with supplying alcohol to an underage person, along with several additional charges of manufacturing and distributing controlled substances. Barnett’s bond was set at $5,000.
Hironimus-Wendt is facing a similar charge of manufacturing and delivering controlled substances. He is also charged with six counts possession of controlled substances, and his bond was set at $2,000.
The third suspect, Nelson, was arrested on two counts of possession of controlled substances. He was released on a bond of $500.
According to Lieutenant May, the arrest of the three criminals is a big success in the fight of drug trafficking in the area. He also continued to say that there may be more arrests regarding the case.
Illinois Drug Menace
Illinois, as with many other states in the U.S., has been experiencing increased drug consumption, trafficking and related overdose deaths in the past years.
It is a national crisis that has attracted the attention of the current administration.
Opiate drugs have been one of the leading causes of death as they prompt quick and often unexpected overdoses, especially as seen with synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Different non-governmental organizations have been studying the trend in drug use and effects to the people of Illinois.
According to Lakeview Health, heroin is the number one drug widely used by residents of Illinois, and it’s also considered the most dangerous.
Illinois’ geolocation makes the state favorable for drug traffickers to use it as a hub for drug distribution, as seen in Chicago.
It is estimated that over 5 percent of all deaths in Illinois are directly related to drug usage. Alcohol and tobacco too significantly contribute to the rising number of chronic diseases which are killing many people in the state.
According to the Illinois Office of Adolescent Health, an estimated 38 percent of high school students admit to using drugs.
Considerable number of those students were introduced to the vice by a close person in their life, such as a friend or family member.
Another research institute, The Treatment Center, found out that marijuana, cocaine and heroin are becoming increasingly popular with the younger generation. Around 15,000 heroin addicts from Illinois have been treated in the past few years, showing the magnitude of the crisis in the state.
Particularly, prescription drugs and opioids have been on the rise in the state of Illinois. Other drugs commonly abused include percocet, dulotin and oxycontin, together with their derivatives.
The dark web has facilitated the trafficking of these drugs across Illinois and the United States at large. The main reason is anonymity, which is the main priority required in illegal and drug trafficking business.
Law enforcement authorities are venturing more in finding new ways to bust the drug traffickers who are always devising new methods to counter the police.
Recently, after the police identified a loophole in the drug acquisition process, they are closely working with the postal service inspectors to make sure all packages are thoroughly searched before being delivered to the stated address. To the police, this is a priority that cannot be ignored.
Students continue using Tor-based markets to request for deadly drugs oblivious of the danger they are putting themselves into. Even though the government and other stakeholders advocate and offer assistance to the drug addicts, without the victims admitting, it will all be in vain.
For the three Western Illinois University students, as they await their verdict from the judge, they will be a lesson to many others like them. The aim of the authorities is to send a message to the drug traffickers that the dark web is no longer safe and will never be.
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