Federal charges have been filed against a Columbus, Ohio man who allegedly transported fentanyl and various opioids to his workplace in Marion.
The U.S District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has alleged that Ryan Kluth, aged 47 and whose address was reported to be located in Columbus, supposedly ordered shipments of opioids to his job.
Kluth has also been issued two charges associated with explicit material involving minors.
In line with court documents, he has been charged with possessing and conspiracy to distribute a controlled drug, and possession of child exploitation material.
Kluth admitted to only using the drug and denied ever selling the fentanyl supply to anyone.
The investigation into Kluth’s alleged activities began when postal workers in Marion intercepted a parcel in route from Canada addressed to Alloway Environmental Testing, Kluth’s employer. Inside the package was a substance later identified as carfentanyl, an analog of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Law enforcement agents spoke to the carrier for Alloway Environmental Testing, who said that she had never met Kluth but that he would typically receive packages from China and Canada. She added that other people usually signed for Kluth’s parcels.
In an interview with investigators, Kluth admitted purchasing fentanyl and carfentanyl on a dark web marketplace from numerous vendors. He reportedly used Bitcoin, the most-preferred mode of payment on the dark web, to purchase the fentanyl and carfentanyl and had the packages shipped to his employer in Marion and to his house in Columbus.
As indicated in court documents, Kluth claimed he consumed fentanyl to suppress urges to watch explicit material involving children, a crime that he admitted readily. Kluth denied sharing or uploading the pictures. He also denied ever making inappropriate contact with a minor.
Investigators found a minimum of 1,000 videos and images of explicit material involving children on his laptop and around 28,000 pictures termed “child exploitive images,” wherein the age of the person in the image is unknown.
Kluth agreed to have his computers, tablet and iPad searched, and that is where law enforcement authorities reviewed his dark web account and located 10 orders made last year for fentanyl and carfentanyl, as well as antibiotic substances sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim, clindamycin and doxycycline.
More parcels containing fentanyl and fentanyl analogs to be delivered to Kluth at the time were also confiscated.
The Drug Menace in Ohio
In the year 2007, unintentional drug overdoses first became the leading cause of death in Ohio, behind motor vehicle accidents. This trend has continued through the years.
According to information released by the Ohio Department of Health, the state has seen a significant increase in overdose-related deaths attributed to fentanyl in recent years.
Accidental drug overdoses caused the deaths of approximately 4,050 Ohio citizens in 2016, up from 3,050 fatal overdoses the previous year. Additionally, fentanyl and fentanyl-related drugs were associated with 58 percent of accidental fatal overdoses in 2016.
With Fentanyl, which is at least 50 times stronger than heroin, a tiny dose can prove fatal.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has recognized China and Mexico as the primary sources of fentanyl finding its way into the United States. The DEA, in a briefing guide for first responders, noted that fentanyl is being transported to the U.S. through Canada, the source of Kluth’s packages.