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Tag: Heroin

DOJ Operation Leads to Largest Seizure of Drugs Sold on Darknet sites

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators have arrested dozens of people accused of trafficking drugs through Darknet sites, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The operation led to the seizure of more than $6.5 million in cash and virtual currencies, about 274 kilograms of drugs ranging from fentanyl and oxycodone to methamphetamine to heroin in the U.S., and 63 firearms.

The busts were part of operation DisrupTor, an international effort involving the Justice Department and law enforcement partners in Europe. It was the largest seizure of drugs sold online in U.S. history.

Darknet sites, which are on encrypted networks to make access difficult, have become a popular way to distribute illicit drugs.

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a news release. “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well — shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.”

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice.  But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.”

Click here to read prepared remarks on the busts.

Authorities Seize Nearly $700,000 in Cash Stowed Away by Border Patrol Agent Accused of Drug Trafficking, Prosecutors Say

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Authorities found more than $680,000 in the home, vehicle, and safe deposit box of a Border Patrol agent who has been charged with drug trafficking, federal court documents show.

Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo Border Patrol Station, has been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Federal agents found $370,000 in at his house and vehicle and another $311,000 in a safe deposit box, Tucson.com reports.

Prosecutors say Passapera was caught loading two duffel bags full of drugs into a vehicle at an airport in Phoenix. The bags contained 21 kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin and one kilogram of fentanyl, plus some 350,000 pills believed to fentanyl, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, Passapera faces up to life in jail and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Combating Opioids And Reemergence of Cocaine, Heroin Is Priority for New Head of FBI’s Pittsburgh Office

Bob Jones, new head of the Pittsburgh Field Office

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The opioid crisis and the revival of cocaine and meth in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is the focus of the new head of the FBI’s Pittsburgh office.

Bob Jones, who recently took over the office, said law enforcement has made a dent in the sale of heroin and prescription painkillers, but the crisis if far from over.

“We’ve been knocking opioids down a little bit, but people are turning to other drugs,” he told the Tribune Review.

Jones also is concerned about the troubling reemergence of cocaine and meth and said the opioid epidemic “is still killing people.”

A native of the Pittsburgh area and graduate of Penn State University, Jones said he has “been trying to come back for the last 32 years.”

Border Patrol Agent Sentenced to Probation for Possessing Illegal Firearm, Heroin

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent arrested last year for possessing an illegal firearm and heroin was sentenced to three years’ probation and time served.

Brandon James Herrera was arrested in April 2016 after police in Oceanside, Calif., found a short-barrel rifle and about five grams of heroin in the agent’s trunk, NBC7 reports

Police pulled over Herrera after they said his truck matched the description of a vehicle driven by a suspicious person.

Herrera pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of an assault weapon on July 23.

Departing DEA Leader in El Paso Warns of Cartels Smuggling Heroin, Meth to U.S.

Getting HighBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the leader of the DEA in El Paso prepares to leave his job for a promotion to lead the Houston Division, he warned that the Mexican cartels are continuing to expand their heroin and meth trafficking business. 

“Every day we try to answer the prayers of those parents who are praying that drugs, violence and crime will pass over their children,” Will R. Glaspy said in an interview last week with El Paso Times

Glaspy, who served more than three years as the special agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso Division, is scheduled to start working in Houston on Sept. 18.

Glaspy said drug cartels are turning away from marijuana in favor of meth and heroin.

The El Paso Times wrote:

During his time in El Paso, Glaspy said that his agents handled cases such as the arrests of Sinaloa-cartel affiliated drug traffickers in El Paso, Albuquerque meth traffickers and “Operation Crystal Mountain,” which targeted meth dealers on the Mescalero Apache Reservation.

The No. 1 priority in the El Paso region is fighting Mexican drug cartels, with the No. 2 priority being “community impact cases” that target local drug-dealing groups, Glaspy said.

DEA agents deal more with border drug-trafficking issues in El Paso, Las Cruces and Alpine, which covers the vast Big Bend area.

“Basically, what we are trying to do is target command-and-control of the Mexican organizations sending the drugs up here,” Glaspy said.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Rise of Mexican Black Tar Heroin

Two New Drugs Targeted in Opioid Epidemic Battle

Kratom leaf

Kratom leaf

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The fight against the opioid epidemic has targeted two new recreational drugs being used on the streets as substitutes for heroin and fentanyl. Both U-4700 and Kratom have been on DEA’s radar screen, as well as US Poison Control Centers, in the last few months because of their increased use in 2016, their potential for abuse and health dangers.

U-4700, a synthetic opioid, is known on the streets as “44,” and “pink” and until recently has been easily available on the internet. It has been reported that it contributed to the death of rock star Prince last summer. It was originally developed for use in the 1970s as an analgesic, but it has many times the strength of morphine.

Last month DEA classified it under Schedule I as presenting an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Kratom, known on the streets as “Ketum,” thang” and other names, is actually an herb that has been used as a recreational drug for several years. Poison Center calls about overdoses have greatly increased this past year. The drug continues to be freely available on the internet and has no age restrictions on purchasing.

However, Kratom has increasingly been found in combinations with opioids in cases of overdoses, and it can independently produce symptoms such as tachycardia, nausea, and hypertension.

DEA’s journey toward its regulation in the last few months presents an interesting study in the agency’s frustrations over getting drugs that are contributing to the opioid epidemic off the streets. DEA originally announced its intention to classify it under Schedule I, but physicians and scientists complained to Congressmen that it has legitimate medical value. These members urged DEA to delay the ban for a period of public comment, which is presently under way. DEA placed it on the Drugs of Concern List and is continuing to consider its appropriate classification.

This report relied on articles from Medscape Internal Medicine (12/9/16), Forbes (8/22/16), and the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (12/16).

Parker: Two New Drugs Targeted in Opioid Epidemic Battle

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. 

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The fight against the opioid epidemic has targeted two new recreational drugs being used on the streets as substitutes for heroin and fentanyl. Both U-4700 and Kratom have been on DEA’s radar screen, as well as US Poison Control Centers, in the last few months because of their increased use in 2016, their potential for abuse and health dangers.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

U-4700, a synthetic opioid, is known on the streets as “44,” and “pink” and until recently has been easily available on the internet. It has been reported that it contributed to the death of rock star Prince last summer. It was originally developed for use in the 1970s as an analgesic, but it has many times the strength of morphine.

Last month DEA classified it under Schedule I as presenting an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Kratom, known on the streets as “Ketum,” thang” and other names, is actually an herb that has been used as a recreational drug for several years. Poison Center calls about overdoses have greatly increased this past year. The drug continues to be freely available on the internet and has no age restrictions on purchasing.

However, Kratom has increasingly been found in combinations with opioids in cases of overdoses, and it can independently produce symptoms such as tachycardia, nausea, and hypertension.

DEA’s journey toward its regulation in the last few months presents an interesting study in the agency’s frustrations over getting drugs that are contributing to the opioid epidemic off the streets. DEA originally announced its intention to classify it under Schedule I, but physicians and scientists complained to Congressmen that it has legitimate medical value. These members urged DEA to delay the ban for a period of public comment, which is presently under way. DEA placed it on the Drugs of Concern List and is continuing to consider its appropriate classification.

This report relied on articles from Medscape Internal Medicine (12/9/16), Forbes (8/22/16), and the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (12/16).